Niagara Gazette

Communities

July 29, 2013

Artpark successfully recaptures opening night magic

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — On Artpark’s opening night in 1974, the evening’s star performer was Ethel Merman, who by all accounts put on a tremendous performance that evening. To think that on the occasion of Artpark’s 40th season they could secure a performer with local ties that rivals Merman’s singing ability is simply amazing.

After spending the last few weeks attending rock concerts at Artpark, sitting back and listening to Ragusa sing was a remarkable experience. All three of Ragusa’s performances drew huge applause, and my favorite of the three Broadway songs she sang was her version of “Til There Was You” from West Side Story.

When she hit the high notes, the entire amphitheater felt like it was reverberating with joy.

The end of the evening, as it did in 1974, concluded with the “1812 Overture” and some really loud fireworks.

The family of Senator Earl W. Brydges was in attendance Thursday, and they must have looked on with pride as people celebrated and reflected on the park’s 40th anniversary. I wasn’t there in 1974, but I was glad I was able to be part of Artpark’s history on Thursday night.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for the Gazette.

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