Tonawanda News


August 2, 2013

Riding into the past, on lawn furniture

Tonawanda News — I thought a radio was playing. Then it occurred to me no one plays the radio outdoors on summer evenings in Kenmore, at least not that loudly. Must be something else. 

It was the Beatles’ blast from the past (1964), “All My Loving.” Ah, yes. A concert on the Village Green, by a Beatles tribute band. It was audible, and enjoyable, from my backyard six blocks away, and after further review, I learned those in the audience not in my backyard, but parked in lawn chairs and packed into that triangular slice of lawn in front of the Municipal Building, enjoyed it as well. There was even a beer tent on closed-off Delaware Road.

Five nights later, a part of Kenmore just north of that scene was buzzing with little kids and moms and dads with strollers and those fold-up portable chairs. (Note to anyone eager to offer me a grant to research the matter: older adults prefer those rectilinear aluminum folding chairs with plaid plastic straps forming the seat and back. The younger, hipper ones carry their chairs, which unfold like bagpipes, in cloth bags).

Ah, the kids’ concert on the lawn of Kenmore Middle School. We parked two blocks away on Myron Avenue, walked down McKinley Avenue, a street whose front lawns look bikini-waxed, and there we were for the breathtaking sight of hundreds of kids, dancing on the school grass, dancing on the pavement, dancing with mom, stepping out of chauffeured strollers and eager to do some dancing. No beer tent here, put a thriving pizza-by-the-slice operation and all the soda the clientele could stand.

The Kenmore Village Improvement Society, impresarios of this production, this week invited local musical treasure Brian Bauer, he of the saxophone, the clarinet, the severely old-school playlist and the Studebaker he drives around Kenmore, as its guest artist. Billed as President Hoover’s favorite band, his ensemble, Dr. Jazz and the Jazz Bugs, offered the dancing tots material unheard since 1935 anywhere but in Betty Boop cartoons, in that anachronistic style eventually killed off by Big Band music (itself a casualty of rock and roll).

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