Music has been an integral part of New Port Richey’s transformation over the last several years. While we’ve long had music at our large festivals, such as Chasco, the growth of music week in and week out has been dramatic.
We’ve had to deal with some issues along the way, most notably the need to keep the volume down so that people living near the venues can get some peace and quiet at night. Music in the park doesn’t need to be so loud that it threatens to damage the hearing of everyone in the concert circle with just minutes of exposure. Likewise, the music at other venues shouldn’t be rattling the windows of nearby residences or interfering with the operation of other nearby businesses.
I believe all of these are “growing pains” that we simply need to deal with. The city council has established a noise ordinance and there have been a couple of tweaks since. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that there are probably a few more tweaks that will be necessary in the future. The good news is that everybody seems willing to work together to find solutions.
People Places had a “Talk About Town” session a week ago featuring a presentation on the original music scene in New Port Richey. The presentation was quite informative and I got the chance to chat with some of our local musicians.
We have a wide variety of musical styles on display in New Port Richey.
Cover bands seem to be quite popular, but some of them stretch the bounds of the definition. I tend to divide cover bands into three categories:
- “Cringe-worthy, like bad karaoke”
- “Close your eyes and you can imagine that you are listening to the original artists”
- “Oh My! Why didn’t the original artists play this song like this?”
One of my favorite Tampa Bay bands, the Black Honkeys, falls into this third group. They will be performing this coming weekend at the KiaFest Main Street Blast.
As part of the Summer Concert Series, we had a free summer concert in Sims Park a week ago, featuring the “Alter Eagles“. There were upwards of a thousand people in the park enjoying the music of this Tampa Bay band.
Covers are nice. Even the Beatles started out covering the likes of Chuck Berry, but original music can be even better. Local musicians are starting to get their chance to show their talent. Several of the artists featured in the New Port Richey Public Library’s Banned Books concert series played original works. The Banned Books series included a number of different music genres.
I missed the Locals Night concert at the Karl Reef this past Tuesday night. My colleagues and I had a rather lengthy city council meeting and couldn’t go to the concert. The Karl Reef had original music from several artists and, by all accounts, it was a great evening of music. I hope they will do it again.
I did NOT miss Sunday’s Soulful Supper Dinner & Praise event Sunday afternoon at the Dulcet. It featured a combination of old gospel favorites and original songs. Derrick Williams and his band were great. They are looking to make this a regular monthly event. I’m sure some of my church friends will enjoy going in the future.
Anthony Marra’s Nocturnal Productions produces a variety of shows featuring local artists and original music, mostly rock, metal, and punk rock, at Venom’s and other area venues. Judging from some of the videos I’ve seen online, they have a loyal following.
Other music genres also feature local artists.
The Richey Concert Band does a regular series of concerts at the River Ridge Performing Arts Center each year. They feature marches, show tunes, and music from the big band era.
A number of our local churches feature amazing artists, during church services, special concerts, or both. You can choose from praise bands singing contemporary favorites, traditional services featuring organ music and choirs, world class vocalists, and instrumentalists.
I heard an amazing cello performance earlier this month, played on an instrument that is over two hundred years old! Not all cello music is boring stuff from the 17th or 18th century. A duet I’d love to see visit New Port Richey are the 2Cellos. They will be performing in St. Augustine in September.
Sims Park is frequently booked for for outdoor concerts. The main concert circle bears the brunt of these events, particularly during the dry spring months. As a result, the park has trouble recovering between events. Fortunately, there is a natural ampitheatre down by the bridge and Peace Hall that can be used for some smaller performances.
We have some other venues, most notably the Richey Suncoast Theatre, that would be perfect for bringing in touring acts, perhaps even including some of the bigger names that are already in the area doing performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall or other venues in Pinellas or Hillsborough counties. The Richey Suncoast Theatre would also be perfect for hosting some of the more popular local performers. This isn’t a stretch. The Richey Suncoast Theatre already hosts a Big Band series and a Doo Wop series.
The music scene in New Port Richey is growing and developing into something special. Combine the music with our choice of restaurants and a good case can be made that New Port Richey is rapidly becoming a dining and entertainment destination for Tampa Bay.
I encourage everyone to support our local music scene. Attend the performances that feature the types of music you like and let the musicians, promoters, and venues know that you enjoy them and want more music.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor
Disclaimer: I may be a bit biased about live music. I’ve been singing since I was a kid and still sing in the choir at the First United Methodist Church today. While in college, I joined a professional music fraternity and sang in the 64 voice Florida Southern College Concert Choir. Given the upcoming 4th of July holiday, it seemed appropriate to share a little number that we recorded along with the Florida Southern College Concert Band back in 1973: