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Our view: New music series can set a new standard

May 21, 2019

As Rochester grows and diversifies, it would seem obvious that things can’t always been done the way they were.

That’s why we’re in support of the new forWARD music series that will be introduced this summer by the city of Rochester’s music department. As outlined by Steven Schmidt, general manager of Civic Music, the series will stage concerts in parks located in the individual wards of the city.

As a trial run, three of the concerts will be held this summer, starting on July 3 in Cooke Park in the Fifth Ward.

Along with forWard, Civic Music is making a change to the traditional July 4 concert at Silver Lake Park. In place of the city’s Concert Band, which is on hiatus, a Tom Petty tribute band will perform just before the fireworks.

If the forWARD series is a success, it promises something new on the city’s summertime entertainment scene. Schmidt said forWard will be second in priority, behind Civic Music’s popular Down by the Riverside concerts.

The park concerts will provide quality family entertainment in pleasant surroundings. They will probably draw more than just neighborhood folks. All in all, we hope this idea turns out to be a winner.

But here’s what we really like about the idea: Rochester is a city of innovation. To meet the expectations of a city of innovators, arts organizations — indeed all aspects of the community, from restaurants to recreation to entertainment — need to adopt that spirit of innovation.

If Destination Medical Center is bringing people here from elsewhere, and we believe it is, those folks will expect a certain standard to make their move worthwhile.

Does that mean Rochester should abandon its traditions and favorite events? No, not at all. In fact, count us among those who are disappointed that the concert band will not be playing at this year’s Fourth of July celebration. Probably even Tom Petty, were he still around, would agree with us.

But in the spirit of innovation and expanded offerings, we look, well, forward to forWARD with anticipation. We hope it sets a new standard that other innovators will be challenged to match.

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