By BECKY KISER
Kaw Creek, a bluegrass duo from Manhattan, kicked off the summer season of Bach’s Lunch on the Bricks Thursday in the downtown Hays pavilion.
An appreciative group gathered at the noon hour to listen to Alice Boyle and Robert Rosenberg play and sing songs inspired by the land and people of the Central Plains and its prairie lands.
Some of their music is original; other songs are traditional folk classics. Rosenberg plays guitar while Boyle plays the fiddle, viola and banjo.
Boyle is a bird biologist at Kansas State University and has written music influenced by her research experience.
Their soothing song “Gate 5” is named after the entrance to the prairie near Manhattan where Boyle studies birds. Accompanying Boyle on the fiddle and Rosenberg on guitar were recorded warblings Boyle made of the Eastern Meadowlark (not to be confused with the Western Meadowlark, the Kansas state bird, which is more prevalent in the Hays area.)
On more upbeat tunes, Rosenberg tapped an accompanying beat with his shoe heels on a wood sounding board directly in front of his chair.
This is the second year for Bach’s Lunch on the Bricks, according to Sara Bloom, executive director of the Downtown Hays Development Corporation.
The title for the free summer music series is a play on words.
“It’s a variety of different music so we wanted to have the Bach name in there. It’s also a play on words because we offer box lunches,” Bloom explained with a smile.
The event is the brainchild of local musician Kay Werth, an oboe and bassoon instructor in the Fort Hays State University Department of Music and Theatre.
“We owe all this to Kay who invited some of her friends to come out and play. She asked if the Bricks of Downtown Hays would be interested in hosting it. She organized the musicians but didn’t want to necessarily organize the marketing or lunch aspect of it.
“So we said absolutely, we love the idea, and now with Kay’s help we’re continuing the series this year.”
One hour concerts will take place every first, third and fifth Friday of the month.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is no week will be the same,” said Bloom.
The music, and the $10 box lunches available for purchase on site, will vary during the season which runs through August.
“You’re gonna hear a little bit of rock, some acoustic music, some polka, just all kinds of different music throughout the summer. We really wanted to focus on making sure there was a large variety so everyone will have something that they enjoy, plus exposing our younger generations to a wide variety of genres.”
All ages are welcome to attend.
The lunches are provided by various downtown Hays restaurants. June features Augustine’s Bakery, 1305 Main. Friday’s menu was a Chicken Caesar Wrap with chips.
Polka music will be played at the June 21 concert by Joe Dolezal and his band. The lunch boxes from Augustine’s Bakery will be Chicken Salad on Marbled Rye.
Participating restaurants last summer included The Paisley Pear, Gella’s, The Press and others. Attendees can reserve a box lunch if desired.
Bloom says the music will always be “clean and fun.”
“It’s just a great way to enjoy some time off the electronics in our beautiful pavilion. Whether it’s hot out or not, it’s cool under the pavilion. It’s a great way to relax and have some fun over the lunch hour.”
The schedule for Bach’s Lunch on the Bricks is available on the Calendar of Events on the Downtown Hays Development Corp. website.