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In the finale of this summer’s “Party in the Park,” residents will see plenty of special treats: Detroit legend Jill Jack with special guest Carly Collura, a Taylor native, in concert, and a “Harvest Hootenanny theme that is certain to make the evening unique.
The free concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, September 6, at the Sheridan Center in Heritage Park will mark the end of the first “Party in the Park” series this summer, presented by Wayne County Community College’s Downriver District. The four-part series started back in June with the young Canadian hit group Autumn Kings, followed with Detroit dance band SpaceCat in July, and funk artists Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band in early August.
But this week’s event will have a different flavor, as the “Harvest Hootenanny” beginning at 5 p.m. will offer Giant Jenga, cornhole games, Connect 4, inflatable archery and axe throwing and bounce houses. While the concert is free, the Harvest Hootenanny activities area will cost $5 per person for a wristband, and we’ll also toss in a glass of apple cider and a donut!
As for the performers onstage, everything you ever wanted to really know about Jill Jack was captured in a 2017 Hour Magazine story by writer Jim McFarlin. Reporting after the release of Jack’s 12th album, amidst her 25th season, McFarlin called her live performances “exhilarating, funny, intimate, achingly revealing.”
If Jack were a baseball player, she’d be known as a gamer. The singer-songwriter is well known and awarded in Detroit music circles. Young artists constantly approach her, many with smiling challenges about how they are “coming (after) her.”
“I’ll say, ‘That’s great! See you in five years, sister,’” Jack told McFarlin. “And if I do see them years later, they’re like, ‘How do you (keep doing) this? They are beaten to a pulp.”
Jack’s story is as long and winding as her career. Her late father was a well-known doctor who wanted her to go into medicine. She went to college and hated all the classes. She quit her day job to focus on music as a young mom. Her dad told her that it would never pay the bills. Jill told him that she’d never ask him for the money.
But, as she told McFarlin in that 2017 magazine story, she always lived for those two “orgasmic” hours onstage. Six months later, she was opening for Jethro Tull at DTE Music Theater – and her dad was in the front row.
Jill Jack has won an astonishing 44 Detroit Music Awards. She started her career as a backup singer with well-known Detroit bands before she starting writing her own songs and fronted her own band. That started a long list of prominent touring with acts like Bob Seger, John Waite, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colin and even the iconic Loretta Lynn. Her music has tremendous range, from soul to rock and folk to country.
First up onstage will be Carly Collura, a Taylor native who now spends her time in Nashville. Ever since she started singing at church as a toddler, Carly felt that music was her calling. “This was always the dream, always the passion,” she said. “When I sing or perform or write music, it’s just pure happiness.” The singer-songwriter moved from Motor City to Music City nearly two years ago to chase that dream.
Remember, the activities area opens at 5 p.m. and will run throughout the evening. The 7 p.m. concert is free to the public. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. Plenty of food and drink is available at cost, including alcoholic drinks. No outside food or drink allowed.
The Sheridan Center is located inside Heritage Park, on Pardee and Northline roads.