The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is inviting the public to share in its Founders’ Day celebration by hosting a free concert featuring an icon of American music.
Singer/songwriter John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful fame will be the featured entertainment during a concert Aug. 23 at Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St. in downtown Johnstown.
Gates will open at 7:30 p.m.
“We are fortunate to work in conjunction with Todd Wagner and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association to secure such a legendary talent to a first-class facility to help us celebrate,” said Angie Berzonski, the foundation’s communications director.
Sebastian has become a permanent part of our American musical fabric.
He is known for such hits as “Do You Believe in Magic?” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice,” “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” “Summer in the City” and “Darling Be Home Soon.”
“We wanted John Sebastian because of his high caliber of musicianship as well as having an appeal to the kind of audience we want to draw to the park,” Berzonski said.
His group, The Lovin’ Spoonful, played a major role in the mid-’60s rock revolution, but what leader, singer and songwriter Sebastian had in mind was actually a counter-revolution.
The Lovin’ Spoonful accomplished that like nobody before or since, putting its first seven singles into the Top 10.
Sebastian’s father was a noted classical harmonica player, and his mother was a writer of radio programs.
Regular visitors to the family’s Greenwich Village home in New York included Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie, so it was no surprise when young John became a fan of, and then a participant in, the folk music revival that swept the nation in the late ’50s.
After leaving The Lovin’ Spoonful, the group he founded, he continued playing at such massive festivals as Woodstock and its English equivalent, the Isle of Wight.
He had been involved in music for films (most notably Francis Ford Coppola’s “You’re a Big Boy Now” and Woody Allen’s “What’s Up Tiger Lily”) and Broadway.
When producers of the TV show “Welcome Back, Kotter” commissioned a theme song in 1976, Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” became a chart-topping solo record.
Sebastian’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 hasn’t slowed him. Whether the stage is at Carnegie Hall or a folk festival in some far-flung locale, Sebastian is still spreading his gospel of American roots music.
Prior to the concert, Mike Kane, Community Foundation executive director, will make a major announcement about 2012 being a record-breaking year for the foundation.
“The foundation had a banner year in 2012, reaching several milestones that we’re excited to report to the community,” Kane said.
“What better way to celebrate our year’s activities than with a big public concert to let everyone know about the great work that our donors and grantees have accomplished.”
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be sold by the Phoenix Tavern.
Who: Singer/songwriter John Sebastian.
What: Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Founders’ Day concert.
Where: Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St. in downtown Johnstown.
When: Aug. 23; gates open at 7:30 p.m.