SELMA -- Long-time resident Rick Tuttrup says that after years of playing music, he still enjoys watching as listeners respond to each song.

“[The audience] is just tapping their toes and you can feel the energy. It makes you play better,” he said.

Tuttrup is a keyboardist with Real Jazz, the latest performers in Selma Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Concerts in the Park series. The group filled Lincoln Park with a variety of jazz styles from standards to bossa novas and swing songs during the Aug. 12 event. 

“We’ll cater to whatever group we’re playing to, so tonight you’ll hear some Duke Ellington, Grover Washington and Chuck Mangione,” he said. 

Aside from Tuttrup, the group consists of saxophonist Rick Arii, guitarist Randy Freeman, bassist Peter Scaffidi and drummer and lead singer Ernie Palacio. 

“Each individual player brings something to the table," he said. "We never sound the same twice since we have a lot of creative people here. We may play the same standard, but it’s fresh because we always play it differently.”

The music series will continue each Friday until the end of August, with Thee Fabulous Enchantments appearing Aug. 19 and patriotic music from The Sounds of Freedom Aug. 26.

Tuttrup said the summer concerts are a reminder of what the bandstand in Lincoln Park was created for in the first place: hometown entertainment.

“I love this event. It’s like it used to be, since we have this wonderful bandstand that Russ Noble put together for us. It’s how small towns get together,” he said. 

Chamber Executive Director Bob Allen said since the concerts are a tradition, residents look forward to the variety of music styles performed at each show.

“Each week it’s different,” he said. “The first week, we had the band that was a little more country with young people in it and it was really upbeat. Tonight, we have a local group. It’s always important for us to showcase talent we have in the community.”

In the audience, a range of listeners from every generation enjoyed the music and food that night.

Selma’s Joyce Barber came with her husband, David Barber, and said she recognized Tuttrup as the keyboardist who used to perform at worship music for their choir at First Baptist Church.

“I always thought it was so neat to see him play because of the way he uses his whole body when he’s playing,” she said. 

Although the weather was slightly warmer last week, Barber said once the sun sets and the breeze started up, it was just right.

“I love it. It’s good entertainment, so we come to every one of the concerts," she said."With all the trees, it’s comfortable and we meet good friends here.”

Kingsburg teen Jessiah Perez was also in the audience with family members, and said he encourages other young people to attend the relaxed event.

“I like how it’s just cool and calm and they have food!” he said. 

Selma’s Dawn Dellamaggiore came with three generations of her family. She said that while the adults enjoyed the music, the kids came for an entirely different reason: visiting audience members’ pets.

“I got to pet him and snuggle him and kiss him,” McKenna Dellamaggiore, 6, said of Marie Simms’ poodle, Peanut Larmer.

“She wanted to bring our dog, but ours is very noisy. They’re barkers,” Dawn said.

Allen said next week’s performers, The Fabulous Enchantments, have performed at Selma’s Raisin Festival before and are known for their mix of Latin and old school music.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time in the park. It’s been a summer tradition and people have it on the calendar," he said. "We had a great crowd the first week and this next week, they’ll be dancing in the streets.”

Allen encourages residents to purchase tickets sooner rather than later for the annual barbecue dinner taking place during that Aug. 19 show. For the last performance, look for City Councilman Mike Derr and Selma’s Hugh Adams, who’ll perform as members of the Sounds of Freedom.

They’re also known for performing seasonal music during the holidays at Selma’s Christmas Faire as the Selma Community Band.

“Some of them play for the Marine Corps Band and they come from all over the area,” Allen said. “That night,we’ll have Trinity Life’s juicy tacos. [The concerts] are a great community connector. It brings everybody together. You see young and old and everything in between.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com

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