Summer Sundays in the Garden

Summer concerts in the garden are back!

Disrupted last summer by the pandemic, Allen Garden’s popular Sunday concert series returns for its fifth season starting this Sunday, June 20 and continuing through Labor Day with an all-star lineup of local jazz artists.  This popular series has enjoyed steady growth since its inception, and this year offers six free concerts held on alternating Sundays from mid-June through Labor Day, from 5:00-6:15 pm, on the Great Lawn.

We’re especially pleased this year that we’ve been able to transpose the entire (cancelled) 2020 series into this year’s.  All the musicians we’d planned on last summer, and had to miss, will be performing this year!

June 20: Bassist John Christensen’s quartet kicks this off , celebrating the start of summer with a lively set of choice standards and poignant original compositions in a season opener designed to complement the natural setting in the garden.

July 4: Madison’s steel drum band, Panchromatic Steel, offers up authentic island calypso, jazz and familiar hits.  This is cheerful music that’s creative and artful, while being fun, danceable and accessible.

July 18: The Ben Ferris Trio will present  original music around the topics of climate change and microfauna in this intimate show of contemporary improvised music by bassist Ben Ferris joined by Paul Hastil on the keys.

August 1: Madison’s virtuoso vibe player Tommy Mattioli with his Mambo jazz quintet, offer mambos and cha chas from the ‘50s & ‘60s in a compelling program of Afro-Cuban jazz sure to have you on your feet!

Aug 15:  Inspired by the legendary Django Reinhardt and vintage jazz from across the globe, Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble, presents acoustic instrumental music ranging from hot swing to originals to standards done in uniquely arranged styles.

Aug 29: The Sally de Broux & Laurie Lang Band closes the season with Sally’s thoughtful and warm contralto in a program of standards from the Great American Songbook along with originals presented with long-time collaborator bassist Laurie Lang.

Once again, we’re able to offer this concert series free, thanks to support from the Friends of Allen Centennial Garden and Dane Arts.   And your contributions are an essential part of funding the bands and ensuring that Summer Sundays remains robust.

There are a few changes this year, in response to re-opening after the pandemic.  The garden will not be able to offer any seating or beverages to attendees this summer, so do bring your own lawn chairs and your own refreshments.  As always, there is abundant free parking available just steps away in the large lake shore lot just east of the Porter Boathouse.

And, new this year, concert goers will be invited to participate in a raflle at each event.  Prizes will include a bountiful fresh bouquet from the garden, band CDs, and a special grand prize at the end of summer.

We’re so happy to bring these concerts back, and look forward to seeing you in the garden this Sunday and continuing through the summer on alternating Sundays through Labor Day.


Sarah Schaffer

Friends of Allen Centennial Garden

Artistic Director

Summer Sundays in the Garden