by James D. Wherry
Concerts at Summer Nights at Harkness are always inspiring…but the July 25 evening was not just
any concert, but truly “An Evening with Judy Collins.” Produced by Bring Our Music Back in association with the Tinty Foundation, The event was ably emceed by Frank Bombaci, Sr., the chairman of the music organization.
When Frank stopped by our table, he avowed that the outdoor concert series was the brainchild of his son, Frank Bombaci, Jr. Later, when we had the opportunity to speak to Frank Junior, we learned that he is a student attending school in New Orleans. There, he discovered “Hurray for the Riff Raff,” a New Orleans group who were the opening act in our evening’s entertainment.
Their repertoire included a selection of folk blues which fit nicely into the theme of “An Evening with Judy Collins.” After opening her heart in a stirring National Anthem, Connecticut’s own Katie Stevens followed with a medley of pop-rock tunes. With her powerful voice, they all sounded great. Throughout these first two acts, the weather was being generally uncooperative with heavy overcast skies and short periods of very light rain.
Following Katie Stevens, Ari Hest, who is traveling this year with Judy Collins as her opening act, performed with great passion–a passion mirrored by wind and rain that made us all the more eager for Judy, the headliner.
She did not disappoint: From her appearance alone, the Judy Collins of my memories was clearly still there–somewhat more polished, perhaps, yet very much the poised 74-year-old that she has become. Her voice, too, sounded incredible –possibly even better than a scant 50 years ago. It is possible that my memory fails, but despite the wind and the rain I cannot recall Judy Collins ever sounding better than she did Thursday evening at Harkness. Glorious.
Our summer night at Harkness will remain a memorable musical event. Thanks, Judy!
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