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Murray Journal

From retro rewinds to classical musicals, Murray City sets the stage for summer

Jun 04, 2024 01:27PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Journey tribute band, DSB (Don’t Stop Believin’) will perform at the Murray Amphitheater in September. (Photo courtesy of DSB)

As Murray Park prepares to celebrate its centennial on June 15, Murray City ushers in a season of cultural festivity and community spirit with its annual Summer Arts in the Park series. This year, the lineup is especially poignant, marking a century of recreation, community, and cultural enrichment facilitated by the cherished park. According to Murray City Cultural Arts Director Lori Edmunds, the Centennial Celebration is a monumental event for Murray City, and the city has woven this celebration into the summer series to honor the legacy and the future of Murray Park.

Edmunds indicated the park’s centenary is not just a reflection on its past but a forward-looking celebration, embodying the park’s role in fostering community connections and hosting countless cultural events. It sets the stage for a summer series that promises to blend traditional charm with contemporary performances, aiming to cater to the diverse tastes of Murray City’s residents and visitors.

Music and Musicals at the Murray City Amphitheater

This summer’s cultural offerings are diverse, featuring a mix of musicals, concerts and dance performances. “We are producing three musicals for our summer series. In June, it will be the ‘South Pacific’ concert version. This will be part of our Murray Park Centennial Celebration,” Edmunds said.

“South Pacific” was one of the first musicals performed in the park’s amphitheater.

The series continues with performances of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in July and “Peter and the Starcatcher” in August, showcasing the talents of local and regional artists. The addition of two nights dedicated to Celtic dancing, the melodious voices of the Rise Up children’s choir, and performances by the Murray Concert Band and Murray Symphony, further enriches the summer palette.

Retro enthusiasts will be delighted by the Retro Rewind segment, featuring tribute bands like DSB (Don’t Stop Believin’), Toast, Adbacadabbra, and Fleetwood Visions, which pay homage to the timeless music of Journey, Bread, ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. As explained by Edmunds, these tribute bands bring a touch of nostalgia to the concert series, offering something for music lovers of all ages.

Curatorial Insights

The selection of the summer’s programming is a process that begins with potential directors proposing musicals they are passionate about directing. “Typically, our selection for the musicals starts with choosing a director and asking them for some musicals they would love to direct. Then these titles go before the Arts Advisory Board for their selections and input,” Edmunds said. This year, a feasibility study highlighted the community’s desire for a concert series extending into September, indicating a strong community interest in enjoying outdoor performances late into the summer.

“We will see if the weather will hold up for these concerts,” Edmunds said.  

According to Edmunds, Murray City’s Cultural Arts Department aims to mirror the community’s multifaceted interests in crafting the summer series. “Our goal is to offer a broad range of events that cater to different tastes, ages, and cultural backgrounds, ensuring there’s something for everyone,” Edmunds said.

Accessibility and sustainability are pillars of this year’s event planning, with efforts to make venues like the amphitheater and Pavilion #5 welcoming to all attendees. “We are looking to our feasibility study for guidance as well as our advisory boards,” Edmunds said.

Starting on the first Thursday in June, the free Children’s Matinees will be held at Murray Park Pavilion #5 (adjacent to the Murray Parks and Recreation Offices). Performances run 2-2:45 p.m. The Lunch Concert Series is also in Murray Park Pavilion #5, with performances from 12 to 12:45 p.m. Each week, a different band performs. Despite the name, actual lunch is not provided at the concerts, though Murray City encourages you to bring your own lunch while enjoying the live entertainment.

Community Impact

Reflecting on the impact of past summer events, Edmunds shares heartwarming anecdotes of community engagement and joy. “For several years, we have been successful at making the amphitheater as well as pavilion #5 accessible to our patrons. Our Tuesday Lunch Concerts and Thursday Children’s Matinees are free, and they run through June and July. Our pricing at the amphitheater is very affordable, and our performances are high quality,” Edmunds said.

The Family Night Concert Series are free concerts held the second Monday of every month, June through October, at the Murray City Senior Recreation Center. Concerts run 7-7:50 p.m. and are typically held in the outdoor plaza. Concerts may be moved indoors if weather is not permitting. Even though concerts are held at the Senior Center, they are open to the public and for all ages; you do not need to be a member of the Center.

“We have found that each performance has its own ‘audience,’ so we try to include things for all ages and socioeconomic abilities. One of our most endearing successes is our free Tuesday and Thursday concerts in pavilion five as we have found our seasoned citizens, along with some special needs groups, regularly attend and will sing and dance with the performers. As staff, we enjoy watching them enjoy the music,” Edmunds said.

Staying Informed and Engaged

For those eager to partake in the summer festivities, Edmunds recommends visiting the official Murray City website for the most up-to-date information on events, ticketing and schedules. “Our website is the best resource for residents and visitors to plan their summer around our cultural offerings,” she advises.

Patrons can find Murray City’s offerings and ticketing information online at

Looking Forward

Murray City patrons will soon have more venues to choose from. Murray City Museum will be opening soon, and the Murray Theater renovation is approaching its conclusion. The new Murray Park events center, Creekside Cottage, will near completion around mid-2024. λ