The John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert series returns to Ypsilanti Township this summer, running every Friday from July 1 to Sept. 2 at Ford Lake Park.
Lawrence, an Ypsilanti native and musician, puts on this concert series as a way to give back to the community that's been supportive to him over the years. It also acts as a way to bring normalcy to everyone after the pandemic lockdown.
“Old friends were reunited, families came together every Friday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and had a great time,” Lawrence said in a written statement. “It makes me feel good to know that I had a little something to do with that.”
Last year's concert series was a success, nearly doubling in size at each show. It began with around 800 people attending opening night; the last show in the series had over 10,000 people in attendance.
This event is put on by Lawrence and his team, this year being joined by the Ypsilanti Township team. They're working hard to make this year's concert series even better than last year's.
“When you see things looking so good and running so smoothly, know that I did not do this alone,” Lawrence said.
The concert series runs with a production team, sound companies, musicians, and food vendors. The concert series special is made special because it's happening inside the Ypsilanti community.
“I learned that people need to be around other people,” Lawrence said. "Last year I saw the joy in people's faces, they were happy to be out and mingling with people again.”
The community will be able to experience professional concerts every Friday night with nationally-known recording artists.
Some of the artists who will be performing are Jeff Lorber, a Grammy award-winning keyboardist, producer, and composer who helped create the "smooth jazz" genre. Other artists expected to perform are Paula Atherton, who specializes in smooth jazz, and Dr. Jessie McGuire, a Ypsilanti native known as “The Power Trumpet.”
There will also be local musicians in the mix, including saxophonist Randy Scott and Lord Yancyy, who are returning from last year's event, and Lawrence, who will be sharing new music.
Those interested in more information on the event can visit johnelawrencejazz.com.