The crowd listens to the music at Soldotna Creek Park during the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

The crowd listens to the music at Soldotna Creek Park during the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna concert series heats up

Milo Matthews will be the latest in a string of popular musical acts to perform.

In addition to featuring a slate of melodies, the weekly Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series offers a number of other entertainment perks.

Tonight, the early festivities include an hour of lawn activities featuring Nikiski rock drummer Kyle Baltus, a dance production and a cornhole competition. And that’s just the evening’s warm-up.

The feature musician this week is Boston artist Milo Matthews, with Alaskan band Hot Mess playing the opening act.

Soldotna Chamber Executive Director Shanon Davis said Baltus will join Rosemary Pilatti to conduct a “Whack a Bucket” crash course in drumming for younger listeners, and will provide buckets and drumsticks for a workshop beginning at 5 p.m. After a short workshop, Baltus will then pull some of the more advanced drummers out and teach a little more on the finer mechanics of playing drums.

The cornhole competition is sponsored by Edwards Jones Investments and will allow the kids to play from 5 to 6 p.m. Adults will get their chance from 6 p.m. on, with the winner of a best-of-10 throws competition winning a prize at the end of the night.

Around 5:45 p.m., the peninsula program Diamond Dance Project will take the stage for a brief show featuring young dancers.

The most important part of the night, however, will be the arrival of Levitt AMP executive Sharon Yazowski, who will be visiting Soldotna to see how well the summer series has taken off. The attendance numbers have nearly doubled this year from 2018, with a peak of around 2,100 attendees July 3.

“We’re pretty impressed with our community and the way everyone is turning out for these events,” Davis said. “Having (Yazowski) come see it in person and seeing the energy it’s created, we want to show her the feeling this event has really generated for everyone here.”

Davis said Yazowski’s visit is important in bringing back the concert series for another year. The grant is a one-year deal for Soldotna, but Davis said the hope is to continue the growth of the series and Soldotna Creek Park by renewing the grant.

“We want her to understand that their mission is being carried out,” she said. “We’re making a difference.”

Milo Matthews will be the latest in a string of popular musical acts. The Boston native spent 10 years living in Alaska and four in Hawaii, and has traveled the U.S. and Europe, allowing him to create a unique sound as a bassist. Matthews brings a style to the bass guitar, using a drum pad and looping device to create a one-man show of funk, blues and soul music.

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