Talleyrand Park Bellefonte, PA 16823
By Serge Bielanko
The Bellefonte Historical & Cultural Association (BHCA) has been at this stuff for a long time now. Down the years, across the decades, these folks who love the history of this town and are committed to preserving it have been finding new and interesting ways to rally others todo the same. Even when the general public had no idea it was doing such a thing! Case in point: the Summer Sounds concert series.
This Sunday, June 9th, when the Nittany Knights, those local a cappella barbershop-style legends, take the bandstand in the gazebo at Talleyrand Park, a slew of people will fix their eyes on the evening sky, maybe look over at their grandkids or their newlywed spouse...or maybe even across the grass at...CAN IT BE?!?!...THEIR THIRD GRADE MATH TEACHER, MRS DRAGONBREATH?!!...and they will feel the coming summer wash over them in all the ways that only a few events can manage to conjure up.
That's kind of the magic of this series, you see. Sure: Father's Day will find the infamous Cast of Beatlemania drawing a lot of Beatles fans for what will possibly be their biggest and best show ever, but still. There are a million other reasons that this summertime tradition exemplifies the ties and bonds that Bellefonte people seem to really feel with their town when the sun shines bright and the music flows free.
Yes, that's right. I said FREE. Did I mention that all these concerts are FREE? You can bring just yourself and a picnic for one. You can bring your kids and your Mom and your neighbors. You can bring your eye doctor or the guy who works at Sheetz who always seems so chipper at 6 in the morning, it just doesn't matter. It's FREE for all of you.
And it has been for 38 years, since 1981 when the first concert was performed and no one had any idea that many moons later, the tradition would be born and continue. But thankfully, that did happen. And so a town so lucky to have a world-class park with gorgeous summer blooms and fairy-tale ducks and bridges and birds singing and trout the size of Volkswagens just waiting to be fed, that same town somehow has managed to also corner the local market on lovely evenings out under the sky, music drifting out of the bandstand, a feeling of community laying down on the lawns next to you on a blanket like a sleepy pup on a summer's day.
So listen, let's all get out to a few of these shows this yer, okay? They don't cost a dime. They're in the middle of summertime Talleyrand, which is about as gorgeous a place you can find anywhere in the world of small towns, and perhaps most intriguing (and unrealized) of all: these little concerts are a part of our collective history, aren't they? I mean, this IS Bellefonte when you really stop to think about it.
Unfold the blanket, flap it across the grass. Take out the snacks, place them by the kids. Hand out the juice pouches, the cans of soda or whatever. Breathe it all in just as the first song begins. This is YOUR Bellefonte.
The town's history.
A shared experience in the company of friends, neighbors, and strangers who have all come here for the same reason as you. To listen to the music. To be around other people. And to let go of the rat race for an hour or so, as the sun starts sinking, and all seems right with the crazy beautiful world.
The 38th Annual BHCA Summer Sounds Concert Series begins Sunday, June 9th at 7pm with The Nittany Knights.
Gazebo at Talleyrand Park, Bellefonte, PA.
Lawn chairs and blankest suggested.
If it rains, concerts will be held at St John Lutheran Church, 216 N. McAllister St.
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