Suzie Brown opens this summer’s Pastorius Park Concert Series. It’s the series’ 65th season. (Photo by Zoey Sless-Kitain)

by Joe Tressa

The Pastorius Park Concert Series will begin its 65th year at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, with singer/songwriter Suzie Brown.

Brown did not have a direct path to becoming a singer/songwriter. She earned her medical degree from Harvard, a master of science in translational research from the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to practice cardiology.

Before settling into a medical career, she dabbled in music.

Brown also attended Dartmouth College, and during her last year as an undergrad she joined an a cappella group. She felt at home with the other members and enjoyed every minute of it.

After graduating from Dartmouth, Brown enrolled in a summer program at the Berklee College of Music, where she learned more about singing and how to use her voice.

A medical career finally won out, and Brown went on to Harvard for medical school, even though she felt as if she were betraying her music dreams. While at Harvard, she kept her music aspirations alive and spent many nights attending open-mic sessions at bars and clubs.

Settled into a medical career, the Boston native did not even contemplate revisiting music until 2008, when she was at a friend’s wedding and went onstage to sing on a dare. The crowd was amazed by Brown’s voice, and this started her interest in singing and songwriting. Less than a year later, she sold out her first show at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia.

In 2010, as Brown started to become popular in the Philadelphia area, she was named “Best of Philly” for musical talent by Philadelphia magazine. The release of her 2011 album, “Heartstrings,” put her career on full speed and has established her as a well-known local artist.

Brown currently is working on another album with Oliver Wood, who is part of the two-man folk band The Wood Brothers, as her producer. The album is set to be released later this year.

Brown also was the beneficiary of some luck on her road to success. While at the Newport Folk Festival a few years ago, she had a very lucky encounter with Philadelphia folk-jazz singer Amos Lee. Lee and Brown became friends, and he eventually introduced her to Barrie Maguire, who gave Brown an opportunity to make her own album, which led to the creation of “Heartstrings.”

The rest is history. Suzie Brown has become a household name in local Philadelphia bars and night clubs. She should certainly be an entertaining performer for the Chestnut Hill community when she opens up the Pastorius Park Concert Series next week.

The rain location for each concert will be at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Lower School Auditorium, Cherokee Campus, 8000 Cherokee Street. Rain statuses will be posted on by 6 p.m. the day of the show.

The concert series is organized and produced by the Chestnut Hill Community Association and made possible by donations from the Chestnut Hill Community Fund and Chestnut Hill Hospital. Further sponsorship is provided by WXPN-FM and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department. Be sure to check back with the Local for previews of each band act the week before each concert.

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