Who Are Those Guys performing in Grangebel Park in July 2015. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The Jim Lull Memorial Concert Series, presented each summer by Townscape, may not have an entire lineup of concerts to offer this season — after being shut down altogether last year by the pandemic — but there will be at least one concert.

On Friday evening in Grangebel Park, the Riverhead High School chamber orchestra, chamber singers, wind ensemble and jazz ensemble will perform in concert, beginning at 7 p.m. There is no scheduled rain date.

The high school chamber and ensemble groups have traditionally kicked off the Townscape summer concert each year.

Townscape enjoys showcasing the extraordinary talent of the Riverhead High School musicians, said Jim Warner of Townscape.

But this year, the traditional kickoff concert may well be the only one Townscape presents.

“I have not wanted to ask local businesses to sponsor concerts because of the strain they’ve been under for the past year due to COVID,” Warner said. And Townscape lacks the financial resources to pay musicians without underwriting support from businesses.

Last year there was no opportunity for concerts due to pandemic restrictions, but Townscape had trouble raising financial support for the concert series in 2019 and announced the concert series would not take place that year. Downtown resident and business owner Diane Tucci stepped in to raise money via GoFundMe to pay for three concerts in Grangebel Park in August 2019. A fourth concert was sponsored by then-councilman James Wooten, who was also a Townscape volunteer and was coordinating the concert series for both the organization and the town. Wooten sponsored the band Southbound to perform at Polonaise Park in Polish Town. The concerts had been held at the pavilion there in 2018 also.

Townscape’s Friday night concert series, a summertime staple for many years, were held for a long time on the grounds of the East End Arts. Former councilman James Lull, who was also a longtime Townscape board member and, with his wife Connie, coordinated of the Riverhead Country Fair for Townscape, handled securing sponsors and booking talent for raw concert series.

After Lull passed away in 2012, Wooten took over as concert series coordinator beginning in 2013. The concert series was moved from its longtime location at East End Arts to the newly renovated Grangebel Park in 2014.

Warner said Townscape would like to continue presenting the Friday night concerts this year and welcomes any prospective sponsors. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can send Warner an email for more information.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.