Family affair

At least five of the past 10 years Larry McDonald has organized the free Music in the Park concert on the Fourth of July, it rained.

He’s thankful this year didn’t make the sixth.

Around 150 people of all ages showed up for the show Saturday afternoon at Shields Park in Seymour.

“The weather is perfect today, so this is a blessing,” McDonald, owner of This Old Guitar Music store, told the crowd.

Some families brought lawn chairs or blankets on which to sit. Others packed picnic lunches or grilled out at the park.

Kids ran around playing and music filled the air.

The concert served as a prelude to the city’s annual fireworks show later that night over Freeman Field sports complex.

Chelsey Arthur of Seymour brought her four young children, her mother and husband to the concert.

“We came out last year and had a good time,” she said. “We really like it.”

Arthur said the kids, who were playing ball and blowing bubbles, love being outside.

“We plan to make a day of it, and go see the fireworks tonight,” she said.

Taking the Music in the Park stage this year was 19-year-old Brilyn Terrell of Seymour, who played the guitar and sang a variety of well-known pop songs. This marked her fourth year to be a part of the show, she said.

“It gives people something to do before the fireworks,” she said of why she likes performing on the Fourth of July.

Kyra Gerbig, 7, of Seymour said she was excited about getting to see the fireworks.

“They’re loud but so pretty,” she said. “I like the big ones that go way up in the sky and then explode with different colors.”

Gerbig and her sister, Kaylee, 9, mom, Jami Gerbig, and grandma, Jacque Gerbig stopped by McDonald’s to pick up food for the girls before heading to the park. They spread out a blanket to enjoy the concert.

“It’s just nice to spend time together doing something fun,” Jami Gerbig said.

In the second, hour long act, the Long Family Singers, a group of sisters from Freetown, entertained with their Christian/gospel bluegrass sound. Besides their vocals, two of the Longs also played instruments. The oldest, Stephanie, 26, handled the guitar, while Emily, 23, brought out the mandolin and a violin.

Decked out in blue T-shirts featuring American flags on the front, the sisters performed several patriotic songs in honor of the holiday.

“It’s great to be allowed to celebrate our freedom and independence this way, and we feel blessed to be able to sing here today,” StephanieLong said.

The Fourth of July is a reminder to everyone of why they should be “proud to be an American,” she said.

“Our freedoms are not free,” she said. “We are very patriotic and like to play songs that show that.”

Rounding out the show was These Fine Gentlemen, a new local pop/rock band, featuring Zack Killey and Zach Thompson, both from Seymour, on vocals.

Guitarist A.J. Stainbrook of North Vernon said they were excited to be able to share their music and celebrate the Fourth of July with others.

“Hopefully, we can do this again,” he said of the show.

Phil and Margie Nash of Brownstown, and Raymond and Joyce Tormoehlen, of rural Seymour, parked their lawn chairs under a big shade tree to enjoy a relaxing Fourth of July.

“We wanted to do something different, so we thought let’s check out the concert at the park,” Joyce Tormoelen said. “We’re glad we did.”

Phil Nash said he agreed.

“This is really nice,” he said. “The setting is beautiful, and the music is great.”

The couples said they used to spend Independence Day with their kids, but since their kids have grown up, they go off to different places to celebrate.

“But that’s not going to stop us from having fun too,” Phil Nash said.