Concerts on the Riverwalk committee members are, from left, Steven Schreier, Tom Jerow, Jan Leschke, Sue Schneider and John Bogusz.
6/13/2019 7:29:00 AM Concerts on the Riverwalk 2019 kicks off with new organizers
For 36 years, music lovers in Rhinelander have had Jan Leschke to thank for bringing them free live music each summer. She has now formed a committee that includes Tom Jerow, Steven Schreier, John Bogusz and Sue Schneider to organize the concerts. Leschke is also helping out during this year of transition, according to a press release announcing this year's summer performance schedule.
The concert committee has been busy scheduling entertainment, soliciting donations from area businesses and preparing to host the weekly concerts, which are set for Wednesdays at 7 p.m., starting June 19 with the Rhinelander Area Community Band, the release states.
Director Jim Pekol has prepared the usual fun mix of familiar tunes, marches and polkas for the first concert, featuring a new-to-the-band JP Sousa march called "Wisconsin Forward Forever." The performance is sponsored by Superior Diesel of Rhinelander.
"We have a good lineup of talent this summer with a couple new acts and the usual free popcorn and friendly folks," said committee member Sue Schneider. " We're happy to be able to utilize this wonderful bandshell and park that's so much a part of downtown Rhinelander."
The rain location for the concerts is the senior center (ADRC) across the parking lot.
Back in 1982, Leschke joined Gary Buelow, then the high school band director, and community musician Bill Kaul to initiate the summer concerts at various locations downtown. At about the same time, she also helped start the Rhinelander Area Community Band which became a staple of the summer concert series.
As the band and the audience grew, the need for a structure became apparent, and she spearheaded the band's fund-raising effort to build a bandshell in the mid-1990s. Partnering with Rhinelander Downtown Development Association, Trig Solberg and the City of Rhinelander, a park along the river near the Davenport Street Bridge was created, the release explained.
Community band member Ron Parkinson designed and donated plans for the bandshell, and various area businesses and individuals worked to build the structure. A crew from the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, with help from local Master Gardeners, carved out a green space from Trig's parking lot complete with benches and landscaping.
While Leschke will no longer address the crowd from behind the microphone, she will remain a devoted audience member and assist the new committee, the release notes. She will also continue playing her clarinet in the community band.
"Jan is such a treasure," said Schneider. "It's an awesome responsibility to take over this job, and I don't think any one of us alone could do it. All of us together may be up to the task."
Concerts on the Riverwalk 2019 schedule
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., bandshell near Trig's in Rhinelander
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