Event information for the 2015 season will be posted here in earliest event first order. Please visit this page to obtain the most current scheduling information.

Free admission to all shows during the Friday Summer Concert Series!
All shows begin at 7pm unless otherwise indicated.


Note: Dates and Artists are subject to change. Please check back for updates.

July 3rd - Laura Rain
July 10th - Danielia Cotton
July 17th - Billy Hector
July 24th - The Organik Vibe Trio Featuring Joel Frahm, Marko Marcinko and Ron Oswanski
July 31st - Albert Castiglia Band with special guest John Ginty
August 7th - Kelley Swindall
August 14th - Peter Karp & Sue Foley
August 21st - Swingadelic

Please Note: rain policy for 2015. All shows will be at the Nicholson Pavilion in Dykstra Park. If there is a significant threat of inclement weather, the show will be held indoors at the Mohawk Ave School Auditorium at 7pm. Please check the home page on the day of each show for updated information regarding postponement or relocation.


July 3rd - Laura Rain

The Huma Room - Photo by Ingo Rautenberg

From Laura Rain's website:

Gone are Nathaniel Mayer and Nolan Strong, Jackie Wilson and Darrell Banks, The Falcons and The Ohio Untouchables. Andre Williams resides in Chicago, Bettye LaVette in New Jersey. Fortune, Lu Pine, Groovesville, Impact, Ric-Tic, D-Town, Inferno, Hot Wax, Groove City Records, and so many more are but memories; Motown moved to California decades ago. Ye who abandoned all hope for Motor City rhythm and blues, enter here: Laura Rain and the Caesars are reclaiming the storied Detroit soul music legacy from the ravages of time, neglect, and electronic dance music.

The Caesars are veterans of the Motor City’s R&B, jazz, rock, and blues scenes. For more than a decade, the classically trained Laura Rain has been singing in Detroit and Los Angeles with an absolute freedom of expression, permitted by her wondrous voice, an instrument of infinite shadings in timbre that avails itself to effortless glides between registers. Often compared to Aretha Franklin, Rains’s fire, feeling, and expressiveness are all her own. Producer, co-writer, and guitarist George Friend, another Detroiter returned home from L.A., has made his mark in multiple genres–rockabilly (Robert Gordon), R&B (The Sun Messengers), and blues (Janiva Magness)–and released a hip solo album of West Coast blues, Looka Here!, in 2004. Phil Hale has played keyboards for everyone from Martha Reeves to George Clinton, Stanley Jordan, Bettye LaVette, and James Carter. Drummer Ron Pangborn, an original member of Was (Not Was), lays down beats that are perfectly fitted to the Caesars' retro-modern soul and blues.

Tom Hyslop of Blues Music Magazine says Laura Rain is “a force of nature...While clearly informed and inspired by soul and R&B styles dating, roughly speaking, from the years between 1965 and 1985, Electrified is vital music for these times." Blues Junction’s David Mac calls Electrified “a super charged soul shot that generates enough energy to light a small town and ignite a fire under the ass of all of its inhabitants." Reflecting a bygone era when songcraft and spine-tingling vocals outranked guitar solos, Laura Rain and the Caesars have waxed a superb album that falls squarely in the tradition of great soul music, and raised the bar significantly for their peers in today's blues scene.

in 2013, Laura Rain and the Caesars have been featured at the Anti Freeze Blues Fest, Tawas Blues By the Bay, Brighton Smokin' Jazz and Blues Barbecue, Marquette Area Blues Festival, Mackinac Island Music Festival and in clubs from Detroit to Los Angeles.


July 10th - Danielia Cotton

Danielia Cotton

The Sparta Cultural Affairs Committee is proud to welcome Danielia Cotton back to the stage for a free concert on Friday evening 7/10/2015 at 7PM. The fiery rockin’ singer/songwriter/guitarist is returning on the heels of her new release, “The Gun In Your Hand”. Always a favorite at the series, she will perform her self-penned tunes with her tight band, belting out her very personal lyrics.

When asked what she’d like listeners to take away from her latest record, Danielia says “Survival….That word comes because something came beforehand that made you have to try. Survival also means great strength on the other side. It’s a dual-edged sword.” She recorded the CD, her third, with producer and friend Kevin Salem. An eclectic and emotional work, “The Gun In Your Hand” is born of heart-break, but delivers life-affirming hope.

Born in Hopewell, NJ, Danielia was brought up by her mother Wenonah Brooks, a jazz vocalist who handed her daughter a guitar at 12 years old as an outlet for her emotions and creativity. Danielia was not exposed to R&B or hip-hop in her mostly white hometown. She grew up on a solid dose of rock and roll with a mixture of jazz and gospel inspired by her mom and aunts. A scholarship to Bennington College had her studying acting, which shows in her exciting performances. Her songs reflect all of her history.

Danielia Cotton has played at clubs and festivals nationally. She has opened for The Allmans, Derek Trucks, B.B. King, Bon Jovi, and Robert Cray. It will be a riveting night of music at the Nicholson Pavilion. The performance is free, rain or shine. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket. Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta, NJ.  


Come join us in welcoming Danielia back to Dykstra Park. 


July 17th - Billy Hector

Billy Hector-considered by many as one of the “hottest” guitarists and songwriters, and named a "Living Legend" at the Asbury Park Music Awards. He participated in a historic studio session with Hubert Sumlin and Billy Boy Arnold to record "Juke" for fabled director Martin Scorsese's upcoming seven-part series "The Blues.”


Billy Hector will be one of the most popular shows of the summer! 


July 24th - The Organik Vibe Trio Featuring Joel Frahm, Marko Marcinko and Ron Oswanski

Visit their website at http://organikvibetrio.com/OVT/

About OVT

Ron Oswanski, a Manhattan School of Music graduate, has performed with some of the most renowned
musicians in jazz and contemporary music including: The Maria Schneider Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson & Big
Bop Nouveau, Blood Sweat & Tears, Tim Ries & The Rolling Stones Project, Jack Wilkins Trio, Milt
Hinton, Sheryl Bailey 3, Myron Walden Countryfied, Ira Sullivan, John Corbett’s Band, Dave Berger & the Sultans
of Swing, Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen, The Temptations, and Aretha Franklin just to name a few. His touring
credits include: world tours with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau, and national touring with Blood, Sweat,
and Tears. Active on the New York jazz scene since 1992, Ron can be found deep inside the trenches of New
York’s most cutting edge jazz and read about in Downbeat under both the critic’s and reader’s polls.

Joel Frahm – A regular on the New York City club circuit, Joel Frahm has appeared alongside musicians such as Brad Mehldau, Bill Charlap and Matt Wilson and has recorded with Diane Schuur, Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit and other top jazz artists. Fans know him for his big tenor sound — fluid, inventive and filled with passion. Downbeat Magazine’s critics’ poll has named him a rising star.

Marko Marcinko attended The University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and gained an enormous amount of
schooling in classical /ethnic percussion, drum set, piano, and arranging/composing. While at Miami he had
the great fortune to study with one of the best music faculties in collegiate music education. During his time
performing with the University’s top concert jazz ensembles, Marko had the chance to play with some of his
greatest musical jazz mentors/performers, such as; Joe Henderson, Red Rodney, Michael Brecker and Paquito
D’Rivera. For the past 11 years Marko has been a member of the Dave Liebman group as well as the Dave
Liebman Big Band and is featured on numerous recordings with both. He also has toured and recorded with
Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau . Marko currently is artistic director of the Scranton Jazz Festival and
leads the PA Jazz Alliance which promotes, jazz in North Eastern Pennsylvania and through out the state.


Dave Samuels has established himself as the top mallet player of his generation. He is recognized for his
fresh new sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Samuels has demonstrated his
versatility and gained world wide recognition by performing and recording with a broad scope of artists ranging
from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley and Pat Metheny to the Yellowjackets,
Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, The Fantasy Band and Spyro Gyra. For over a decade, Samuels has been
performing and recording with his group The Caribbean Jazz Project whose most recent CD ‘Afro Bop Alliance’
serves notice that the CJP is the most thoroughly inventive Latin Jazz ensembles of this or any era. The album
received a Latin Grammy and was also nominated for a Grammy. Previous cd’s ‘Hear and Now – Live in Concert’
and ‘Birds of a Feather’ were nominated for “Best Latin Jazz Recording,”. Their recording ‘The Gathering’ won
the Grammy in 2003 for ‘Best Latin Jazz Recording’. Some of his other recording projects include
‘Remembrances’, a percussion recording that features a commissioned marimba concerto for chamber
orchestra and soloist composed by Jeff Beal, and ‘Tjaderized – A Tribute to Cal Tjader’ (Verve) that features
contributions from some of Cal’s former band mates Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri, Clare Fischer, Ray Barretto,
Michael Wolff and Karl Perazzo as well as performances by Dave Valentin and David Sanchez.



July 31st - Albert Castiglia Band with special guest John Ginty

Check out Albert Castiglia's website!


(March 25, 2014) RUF Records announced the signing of top Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, Albert Castiglia (pronounced ka-steel-ya), to the Internationally renowned label, with a U.S. release of SOLID GROUND scheduled for April 8th, 2014. He joins RUF for the release of his seventh album in two decades filled with constant touring, songwriting and musical evolution. A U.S. tour will follow the release of the album in the States.


"SOLID GROUND is my best album to date," says the 44-year-old bandleader simply. "I put more time, love, blood, sweat and tears into this recording than any of the others. I love every song on it and the result is a musical variety that I hope touches something in everyone."


RUF Records Founder, Thomas Ruf proclaimed, "We are thrilled to have Albert Castiglia join the RUF Records family of artists. Albert is an energetic powerhouse on stage and the funniest guy in the world off stage. We had a ball on the Blues Caravan tour together. Thank you, Samantha Fish and Mike Zito, for turning me on to his amazing talent and personality."


Castiglia is an artist who sings from the gut, shoots guitar licks from the hip and writes songs that articulate ones hopes, fears and heartaches. 
 Recorded at Fat Rabbit Studios in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, this album isn't just solid, it's special. There are plenty of thrills in the musical execution, with Albert leading the band on vocals and guitar, backed by the veteran team of Matt Schuler (bass/vocals), Bob Amsel (drums), Jeremy Baum (B3/piano/wurlitzer), Lou Bevere (guitar/vocals) and Debbie Davies (guitar/vocals) – plus Dave Gross on multi-instrumentation and production.


A quick look at the 14 tracks presented on SOLID GROUND illuminates tales of a life both bitter and sweet. "Triflin'" hits listeners with Albert's soulful fretwork, while his vocals spin tales of troubles ("We all have our share of problems, damn near every day…"). Woman trouble is a recurring theme, whether it's on the defiant bounce of "Keep You Around Too Long" or the shattered slow-blues of "Have You No Shame" ("I saw you last night under them parking-lot lights, wrapped up in someone else's arms…"). But alongside personal issues, there are also songs plugged into the wider social context, as Albert implores us to seize the day – or, as he puts it, "Put Some Stank On It" – and bemoans the war-torn modern world on "Love One Another" ("It seems like hate is on the rise, it's enough to bring tears to my eyes…").
 A shape-shifting artist with an eclectic vision, Albert's songwriting is equally convincing on the Latin-tinged instrumental, "Little Havana Blues (Arroz Con Mango)" as the sunny strum of "Celebration," and even when he takes on the Stones' mighty "Sway," he makes it his own. He's just as magnetic when he strips down the sparse acoustic slide-blues of "Hard Time." ("I was born in a broke-down Chevy," he sings. "Now I feel like it's on me heavy. I was raised in a dirty junkyard, my only friend was this guitar...".)


Albert Castiglia arrived on the International radar after Buddy Guy's iconic harp-blower, Junior Wells, heard the young bluesman sing and invited him into his solo band for several world tours. The gig was a shop-window, and though Wells sadly died in 1998, Albert stayed busy, joining the great Atlanta vocalist, Sandra Hall, for national tours in the late-'90s, while he held his own in onstage jams with artists ranging from Pinetop Perkins to John Primer. He has been named "Best Blues Guitarist" by Miami New Times, the respected alternative music magazine and honored by Roots Music Report with a Top Blues Album of 2011 and 2012. Castiglia was born in New York and raised in Miami to an Italian father and Cuban mother and combines all influences to create his unique style of modern day blues with a traditional core.

Previous albums include: BURN (2004); THE BITTERSWEET SESSIONS

(2006); A STONE'S THROW (2006); THESE ARE THE DAYS (2008); KEEPIN ON (2010) and LIVING THE DREAM (2012).