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Event information for the 2016 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 1 - Patrick Fitzsimmons
July 8 - Smokey Hormel's Round-Up
July 15 - Laura Rain & The Caesars
July 22 - Ali Ryerson featuring Mark Egan & Karl Latham
July 29 - Mulebone
August 5 - Murali Coryell
August 12 - Peter Karp & the Roadshow
August 19 - Billy Hector
August 26 - Marko Marcinko's Latin Jazz Quintet
September 2 - The Pfeiffer Twins

Please Note: rain policy for 2016. 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 1st - Patrick Fitzsimmons



The Sparta Summer Concert Series kicks off the 2016 season and the July 4th weekend with the return of  local favorite singer/songwriter  Fitz and Friends!  Patrick Fitzsimmons will perform with a group of amazing musicians joining him at this great outdoor concert locale.  John Skehan III of Railroad Earth on mandolin, Geoff Doubleday on electric guitar, Ned Stroh on drums, Johnny Grubb on bass and Tom Askin on piano.

Patrick has recently released "Hope Is", his sixth CD and first on Malletts Bay Records. The title is directly inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem, "Hope Is the Thing With Feathers" but the album's emotional content is grounded in powerful real life events.  Fitzsimmons started working on the songs for "Hope Is" back in the winter of 2011. Creatively blocked, he forced himself to write a song per day for a week via Skype for his west-coast girlfriend, calling them “Skype Dates”. The songs found their way to the album. The buoyant drive of the album marks a compositional breakthrough for the critically acclaimed songwriter who has been called “one of the most captivating songwriters around today” by Relix Magazine. John Platt of WFUV radio said, "Patrick has such a melodic gift and crystal clear voice...a singer-songwriter of the first rank".

Patrick has shared the stage with some of the acoustic music scene's biggest names including Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, Roger McGuinn, Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert. Fitzsimmons continues to tour throughout the northeast building his large and loyal following with soulful, captivating performances.

As a young boy, Patrick loved the singer-songwriters of the ’70’s, drawn to the works of such artists as Cat Stevens, Paul Simon & James Taylor. Though his first instrument was the drums, he eventually came full circle to follow the path of his childhood heroes.  In high school in Sparta, New Jersey, he and two classmates formed a band that would ultimately become From Good Homes, a folk/rock band signed to RCA Records in the mid ‘90’s. FGH recorded three CDs with RCA and toured the country, sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Dave Mathews Band, Joan Osborne and many others. In 1999 the band broke up and Patrick moved to Vermont and began his solo career. 

Opening the show on Friday July 1st is the Sparta based group “The Goods”  featuring Katlyn Lucio.

The Summer Concerts are sponsored by the township, local businesses and of course the music fans.   They are FREE to the public. Bring family and friends, lawn chairs and a picnic. The show begins at 7PM at The Nicholson Pavilion, Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta. Rain location is next door at The Mohawk Avenue School.  Please see for more information on the series, for updates or to become a sponsor.


July 8th - Smokey Hormel's Round-up

Smokey Hormel’s Round-Up Comes To Sparta

The Sparta Summer Concert Series is proud to welcome legendary session guitarist Smokey Hormel to the Nicholson Pavilion stage this weekend.

Over the course of a 30 year career as a touring and versatile studio guitarist, Smokey Hormel has appeared on numerous Grammy Award winning records, including Adele's "21", Johnny Cash's "Hurt", Beck's "Morning Phase" and "Sea Change", as well as others by Neil Diamond, The Dixie Chicks,  John Doe,  Steve Earle,  Josh Groban,  The Backyardigans, Norah Jones,  Joe Strummer,  Justin Timberlake and Tom Waits. Growing up in Los Angeles, Smokey was fortunate to study at a young age with the great Jazz and Western Swing guitarist Jimmy Wyble (Benny Goodman, Bob Wills and Spade Cooley).  In the late 80s, he joined southern California's iconic Americana - Roots - Rock-a-Billy band, The Blasters, and toured the world, playing on stage with his mentor, New Orleans'  sax legend Lee Allen.

In addition to all of his session recording work, and his work in both film and TV, Smokey finds time to play with some of his own groups. His ongoing musical project is Smokey's Round-Up, a return to his early love of 1930s Western Swing music. Since 2008 the four piece Round-Up has played regular weekly Brooklyn shows, amazing audiences with virtuoso guitar and a vast repertoire of great, long lost American songs. They will be playing lively western swing and boogie-woogie for dancing.

As a wise man once said, "you've got to boogie before the lights go out, because tomorrow is iffy!"

Opening the concert is Sparta singer/songwriter Denny Tilton and Friends.

The FREE performance starts at 7PM at Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta (next door at Mohawk Ave School if weather is bad). Bring family, friends, lawn chairs and a picnic. For more information on the show visit


July 15th - Laura Rain & The Caesars

Returning to Dykstra Park for a 2nd show after first performationg a fantastic show last year. 


July 22nd - Ali Ryerson featuring Mark Egan & Karl Latham

Ali Ryerson with Karl Latham & Mark Egan in Sparta

    With a career spanning over four decades, jazz flutist Ali Ryerson consistently ranks among the top flutists in the Downbeat Jazz Poll. Born in 1952 in New York City, Ali grew up in a musical family. Her father, Art Ryerson, was a renowned jazz guitarist who got his start with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and later became one of the first-call studio players in NYC, recording with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker to Elvis Presley.

    Ali Ryerson has carried on the family tradition, becoming an international touring/recording artist, with performances ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Blue Note to festival appearances worldwide. Ryerson has released nearly two-dozen albums as leader or co-leader on major jazz labels such as Concord Records, DMP, Capri, and legendary jazz producer Bob Thiele’s Red Baron. She has recorded and/or performed with jazz greats such as Stephane Grappelli, Red Rodney, Roy Haynes, Hubert Laws, Mike Mainieri, Art Farmer, Kenny Barron, Frank Wess, and Joe Beck, as well as classical artists Julius Baker and Luciano Pavarotti.

    As an educator/author, Ryerson published her widely acclaimed Jazz Flute Practice Method book in ’09, just released her Jazz Flute Masterclass DVD (Lessonface), and has written numerous instructional articles for The Flutist Quarterly, Downbeat Magazine, and Flute Talk. Ms. Ryerson recently joined the faculty at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield CT as Flute Professor, and continues to conduct master classes worldwide.

    A Gemeinhardt Artist with an Autograph Series of flutes she helped design, Ali’s pet project for the past 14 years has been developing her Jazz Flute Big Band, a unique jazz ensemble made up entirely of flutes, ranging from piccolo to contrabass, with a full rhythm section, performing arrangements by some of today’s top jazz arrangers.

   Her performance this Friday will feature award-winning bassist extraordinaire Mark Egan, a founding member of The Elements and powerhouse jazz drummer Karl Latham.

 The FREE concert at the Nicholson Pavilion, Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Rd, Sparta is a family friendly event. In case of rain, the show will be held inside the MAS auditorium. The show starts at 7PM on Friday July 22nd. Please be advised that the Sparta Township dog ordanance is in effect at all times at Dykstra Park.

Please see for more information and updates.


July 29th - Mulebone

Blues Band MULEBONE Comes To Sparta

Mulebone is a musical partnership comprised of multi-instrumentalist, John Ragusa and roots music specialist, Hugh Pool. The grist for their mill is traditional blues.

Together Mulebone has recorded 4 critically lauded CDs. Their latest offering "Keep on Movin" earned the distinction of being the only independent release in the AMA Top 40 for 5 weeks in 2015. Along with playing live and TV appearances, they won blues artist of the year at radio stations from Seattle, Washington to Red Bank, New Jersey and Hugh Pool was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2016. Any given week may find them playing clubs in NYC or entertaining at private parties thrown by David Rockefeller, Bruce Wasserstein and other East Coast residents who are enthusiastic about bringing these boys in for a party by road, sea or air.

In Mulebone, John Ragusa plays, conch shell, Jews harp, cornet, all manner of flutes, tin whistle, and chimes in on the harmony vocals.

He is member of Beth Nielsen Chapman's group as well as his own John Ragusa outfit, and plays regularly in conjunction with Deepak Chopra's speaking engagements. Amongst dozens of studio credits are jazz greats Joe Taylor, Jeremy Wall and world music icon Tom Ze.

Hugh plays guitars, harmonica, boot board and sings, all with a mouth full of whiskey and a giant heart.

He has played his brand of blues in clubs and at festivals from Indonesia to Norway;  from  Austria to Ontario and has been critically lauded by The New York Times, New York Press, The Village Voice, and Blues Revue Magazine...the list goes on.

He is also a noted recordist and producer who has worked on hundreds of records at his Brooklyn studio, Excello Recording including sessions with Taj Mahal, Debbie Harry, Marshall Crenshaw and even Molly Ringwald.

Together in Mulebone, Hugh and John play slide guitar boogies, 1 chord trance riffs a la Howlin Wolf the uptempo rags of Reverend Gary Davis and country blues of all shapes and colors. Sometimes they play close to the source, almost as if tracing the image, and at other moments, they re-examine the source, float above it, take a new look as one understanding their home from a distant land.

Local band MedRock will open the evening.

The FREE concert starts at 7PM at the Nicholson Pavilion, Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Rd, Sparta. In case of inclement weather, the show may be moved indoors to the MAS auditorium. Please check on after 2pm for more information.