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Musical Charis Opens the 2011 Hot Lunch Concert Series

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On Thursday, June 2, Sacramento saw the start of another year of the Hot Lunch Concert Series and a new free music event playing at Cesar Chavez Plaza; “Fiesta en la Calle” (Street Party).

Hot Lunch Concert Series

The Hot Lunch Concert Series is a collaboration between Hot Italian, Sacramento News and Review and Friends of Fremont Park. Musical guests perform on Thursdays from June 2 to September 1 during the lunch hour (11:30 to 1p.m). Promoter Jerry Perry has put together a great lineup. Fremont Park, located on the corner of 16th and P Streets hosts the event.

Musical Charis was the first band scheduled to perform this year. The weather cooperated and made for a delightful lunch concert. People from around the area brought their lunch or took advantage of being across the street from Hot Italian and ordered their lunch from there.

Musical Charis had already begun their set when I got there and about 100 people or so where sitting in front of the stage. Children were running around enjoying the outdoors on a mostly sunny time of the day.

Hot Lunch Concert Series

Locals and others enjoyed the music and company of neighbors and friends. Andrea Lepore, co-owner of Hot Italian took a little time to listen to the band and chatted with Jerry Perry and Tais’ immediate family.

Jerry Perry and Andrea Lepore chat with Tais’ wife Mitzi and son.

I noticed two outdoor booths from two partners of the concert series; Metro PCS and Sacramento News and Review. Other partners for the concerts include CADA, Yelp, Midtown Business Association and the Sacramento Press.

Hot Lunch Concert Series Presenting Partner, Metro PCS

Blake Abbey from Musical Charis at one point reminded the audience that the Hot Lunch Concerts will be held at Fremont Park. He also mentioned that Concerts in the Park is being held on Fridays at the Cesar Chavez Plaza. Both concert events are free and suited for music fans of all ages.

Musical Charis’ Blake Abbey

As they finished playing “Forward”, Abbey said they were going to be playing a few more songs and then a couple of kids from their musical school were going to perform. Musical Charis not only performs but also runs the Musical Charis School for Music. They offer a wide range of music programs including private music lessons, Music 4 Tots (for kids age 5 and below), song writing workshops, vocal boot-camp, recording sessions, recitals and more.

“Anatomy” from their 2009 Electra City Church Bells EP followed as they continued to play in front of the Fremont Park audience.

Musical Charis’ Jessie Brune

A harmonica intro started off “Tell Me” from their People People CD. A great mixture of guitar, bass, keyboards, harmonica, tambourines and congas created a great sound as Musical Charis played their set especially when they played their rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Hot Lunch Concert Series

“I Candy” was introduced by Abbey saying, “This song is about the over abundance of bands that moved to L.A. to try to make it but they ran out of make up so they didn’t make it.”

Musical Charis at Hot Lunch Concert Series

“We’ve been teaching music classes for about two and a half years in Sacramento. We started in Oak Park but we’re now located at the K Street Mall by the food courts. So if anybody has kids or adults that want to learn how to play music, first lesson is always free, and we’re really nice people on the weekends, and on the weekdays too.” said Abbey as he introduced Shawn and Bradley.

Hot Lunch Concerts, Brad and Shawn

Their  first song selection included a great acoustic guitar intro as a Sarah Teasdale poem was made into a song. They followed up with “For Sale” and ended their short set.

Musical Charis came back after their short break and played “Passport”, "Catwalk", "Fish" and "Heavy". 

Musical Charis

Back on the microphone Abbey said, "Promote local music and local art here in Sacramento. It’s a great place for it and encourage the economy to improve by buying some Hot Italian. Thank you again, thank you Jerry Perry, thank you Hot Italian and thanks to all of you."

Musical Charis performing at Fremont Park across the street from Hot Italian

Musical Charis ended their set with one of their signature songs “The Life”. As people left you could hear a couple of them whistling that same tune. Musical Charis will next perform on June 4th at the Second Annual "Art Happens" benefit event at the Sacramento Arts Complex located at 2110 K Street. 

This was a great kick-off to the Hot Lunch Concert Series. If you plan to attend one of the concerts, you can call Hot Italian at 444-3000 and order any pizza and pick it up before going to the park. You can also get the Hot Lunch (a panini or insalata + a drink for only $10, tax included). Below is the schedule for the rest of the season.

2011 HOT LUNCH Line Up
6/2 – Musical Charis
6/9 – The Bell Boys
6/16 – Walking Spanish
6/23 – Richard March
6/30 – Kepi Acoustic with Dog Party Acoustic
7/7 – Shannon Curtis
7/14 – Gerald Pease Combo
7/21 – Island of Black and White
7/28 – Exquisite Corps
8/4 – The Freebadge Serenaders
8/11 – KB & The Slingtones
8/18 – The Nickel Slots
8/25 – Gillian Underwood
9/1 – Larrisa Bryski & Willie Seltzer

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