Pastorius Park Concert committee co-chairs Julie Bryrne (left) and Neil Scheinin

By Pete Mazzaccaro

In a few weeks, The Chestnut Hill Community Association will again begin a summer tradition that is now 64 years old – the Pastorius Park Concert series.

From what was until about 10 years ago a presentation of classical and big band music, the Pastorius Park Concert series has evolved into an eclectic series of music from around the Delaware Valley.

From African to Celtic, jazz to rock, seven artists will play the outdoor stage at Pastorius Park every Wednesday evening between, June 13 and August 1.

“We go for a nice mixture of things and really emphasize family,” said one of the concert series’ co-chairs, Julie Byrne. She and cochair Neil Scheinin have been working for months booking the bands, talking to sponsors and getting ready for the June 13 launch.

“We want to make sure there’s something for everyone,” she added.

Each year the series is sponsored by neighborhood organizations –notably Chestnut Hill Hospital, which pitched in $10,000, and the Chestnut Hill Community Fund. Although it needs the funds to run, the backbone of the series, according to Byrne, is the volunteers.

“Finding volunteers who actually want to help out and actually do the things they say they will is hard,” Byrne said.

Byrne, who just last week became the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s vice president of the Social Division, said she has been volunteering for the concerts since a former concert chair, Tia Burke, recruited her in 2004.

Her co-chair, Scheinin, joined the concert volunteer pool in 2008. A retired state government worker, the Willow Grove resident said he’s always been interested in music and decided to get involved after he saw the Celtic band Scythian that year.

“I thought I’d like to get involved,” he said. “I called up the CHCA and introduced myself. I was put in touch with Janine Dwyer [who co-chaired the concert series until last year] so she said,“Sure, I need volunteers.”

In 2010, when one of Dwyer’s co-chairs Grant MacAvoy could no longer continue, Dwyer asked Sheinin to be a co-chair.

Both Byrne and Scheinin said predictions for a concert series, particularly an outdoor one are tough.
That depends on good weather. They said they’ve seen as many as 800 for Brit rocker Graham Parker, who played the series in 2010.

“You never can tell what turnout will be like,” Scheinin said.

Byrne said that anyone interest-should contact her at

“Anyone who wants to come out we’ll be pleased to have them,” she said.

The lineup this year is as follows:

June 13 – Sharon Katz and the
Peace Train
June 20 – Toy Soldiers
June 27 – Hezekiah Jones
July 11 – The Venissa Santi Quartet
July 18 – Runa
July 25 – Hot Club of Philadlephia
August 1 – The Dukes of Destiny

All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. The rain location for all concerts, except the June 13 opening show, will be at the lower school auditorium of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 8000 Cherokee St.
Decisions to move the concerts will be made after 6 p.m. Call 215-248-8810 to check on the day of the concert.