SOUDERTON — After being cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Concert Sundaes are back 7 p.m. Sundays this summer in Souderton Community Park.
"It's outdoors, so it's the safest kind of event that we can have. We have plenty of room in the park," said Joanne Coppens, chair of the Concert Sundaes Committee.
"We'll ask everybody to continue social distancing and wear a mask if they're still required at that time to protect their neighbors," she said. "Concert Sundaes is all about community, so protecting our neighbors is very important to us and to the community as a whole."
This year's season starts a little later than normal — on June 27 — but also ends a little later — on Aug. 29 — so it has the normal 10-week schedule.
"We knew we wanted to do 10 concerts this year and find a way to make it fit, but we also wanted to make sure it was as safe as possible, so we figured giving us a few extra weeks gives us more time for people to get vaccinated and hopefully for the community spread to slow down a little," Coppens said.
Changes are being planned for the ice cream lines, she said.
"We're adding more people to help," she said. "We're changing the layout a little bit for how people will line up for it."
Instead of people putting on their own sprinkles and everybody using the same spoon, there will be a person from the ice cream group putting the sprinkles on, she said.
"We're trying to make sure there's as few hands on everything as possible," Coppens said.
The concerts start on June 27 with the Allentown Band, the oldest civilian band in the country, which appears each year at Concert Sundaes. Indian Valley Arts will be the service organization scooping the ice cream that week.
On July 4, the 78th Army Band will perform.
"The band consists of approximately 50 talented musicians from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The mission of the band is to furnish music whenever and wherever assigned, while serving the nation and local communities. They perform a variety of music including classical, concert, marches, patriotic selections, pop and jazz," according to band information.
Harleysville Rotary scoops the ice cream.
Mike Greer & Co. performs classic rock July 11. The Souderton Fire Company Auxiliary scoops the ice cream.
Mainstreet Brass performs July 18. Souderton Lions scoop the ice cream.
Ferko String Band, which has won more Philadelphia Mummers first place prizes than any other band, performs July 25. Souderton/Telford Business & Professional Women scoop the ice cream.
On Aug. 1, the Travis Wetzel Trio performs. Wetzel has performed more than 200 shows at the Grand Ole Opry, along with doing shows worldwide. The Souderton Telford Historical Society will be scooping the ice cream. This is the first year that STHS is one of the scoopers.
On Aug. 8, the Robert Eric Band performs a Billy Joel tribute. Souderton Telford Rotary scoops the ice cream.
Zydeco-A-Go-Go performs Aug. 15. The Bean Bag Food Program scoops the ice cream.
High Noon performs a Lynyrd Skynyrd and southern rock tribute Aug. 29. Generations of Indian Valley scoops the ice cream.
The final show of the season is Aug. 29 with Timothy Bentch & Friends. Bentch is a former professional opera singer and Souderton Mennonite Church's former lead pastor.
"The program will include light opera and classical, jazz, Broadway, spirituals, and pop," show information says.
During intermission at each of the shows, the service group dipping ice cream that week speaks about the work they do.
Indian Valley Dental Associates is a new sponsor of the concert series this year, Coppens said, joining returning sponsors Univest, Living Branches and Zwingli United Church of Christ.
Last year, there was no Concert Sundaes schedule, but the booklet that normally lists the schedule was changed to a listing of community resources, including places where people could get food assistance and other types of help. Businesses that were open during the pandemic were also listed.
There were also three Sundays during which people could get contact-less free ice cream.
"It was pre-packaged ice cream that they ordered in advance and then it was just drive-through pick-up," Coppens said. "It was really nice to see all the familiar faces that came through."
Concert Sundaes is happy to be able to do the concerts again this year, she said.
"People need something to be happy about and be able to get together and feel more normal again," Coppens said.