Music will once again fill the air this summer as Newburyport’s Maudslay Arts Center comes alive for its 26th annual Summer Concert Series.
The outdoor amphitheater within the 450-acre Maudslay State Park has been a popular destination for concertgoers since its inaugural season in 1992.
Inspired by the success of Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra nestled in Lenox within the scenic Berkshire Hills — Maudslay Arts Center has built its own reputation for attracting top entertainers in a variety of genres.
The 2018 season will showcase some new performers along with several familiar faces.
“We have a lot of old favorites who are coming back,” volunteer publicist Carol Feingold said. “We’re going to have jazz, big bands, opera, pop music, bluegrass. It’s an assortment for every musical taste.”
The season kicks off this Sunday with the return of the Paul Broadnax Trio, featuring jazz vocalist and pianist Broadnax, a longtime performer who was once named musician of the year by the Boston Musicians Association.
“It’s fitting that we should start off the season with Paul,” said Nicholas Costello, executive director of Maudslay Arts Center, in a press release. “He’s been with Maudslay since the early days.”
Maudslay Arts Center fans may also recognize several other returning artists, including jazz vocalist Amanda Carr and country crossover and folk-rock singer Don Campbell, whom Feingold calls an “all-time favorite.”
A new face this summer will be Danielle Miraglia. The Boston-based blues artist will open the concert next Saturday, July 21, leading things off for The Mystix Unplugged — the quartet led by band leaders Joe Lilly and Bobby Keyes that’s back in the spotlight after a hiatus for members to reboot their creative energies.
Miraglia will return to Maudslay next month with her own band, Danielle M & The Glory Junkies, for a show on Aug. 19. The Glory Junkies combines the blues rock vibe of The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin with Miraglia’s signature lyrical strengths.
The 2018 concert series was originally scheduled to begin this Saturday with a performance by jazz vocalist Rebecca Parris. Instead, the venue will go dark that night in tribute to Parris, who died last month. The appearance would have marked her 26th consecutive year on the Maudslay stage.
“We’re going to keep it closed that day to honor her memory,” Feingold said.
In addition to taking in a show, Feingold encourages concertgoers this summer to spend some time exploring the beauty of Maudslay State Park. The property was once the Moseley estate, owned by a prominent Newburyport family, before it was purchased by the state in 1985. It boasts 19th-century gardens, rolling hills, and fields of azaleas and rhododendrons.
“The state park is a wonderful treasure for this area … especially in the summer,” Feingold said.
And then there is the arts center itself. Whether you opt for provided seating at one of the patio tables or spread out a blanket or open up a lawn chair on the grass, Feingold said that it’s a “lovely place to sit outside and enjoy music without having to travel.”
“Be prepared to witness first-class music in a small, intimate setting outdoors,” she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Maudslay Arts Center Summer Concert Series
When: Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., through August
Where: Maudslay State Park, 95 Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport
How much: Saturday performances are $30 for patio seating and $25 for lawn seating. Sunday performances are $20 general admission. Children under 12 are admitted free.
More information: www.maudslayartscenter.org or 978-499-0050
July 15: Paul Broadnax Trio
July 21: The Mystix Unplugged, with opening act Danielle Miraglia
July 22: Hal McIntyre Big Band
July 28: Amanda Carr
Aug. 11: Hillyer Festival Orchestra
Aug. 12: Liz Frame and the Kickers
Aug. 18: Don Campbell Band
Aug. 19: Danielle M & The Glory Junkies
Aug. 25: Bobby Keyes Trio
Aug. 26: Donna Byrne