Concerts on the Hill starts up in Joliet
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media June 5, 2013 5:38PM
The audience sits on the hillside at the theater at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park in Joliet. | Submitted photo
CONCERTS ON THE HILL
♦ Through Aug. 29
♦ Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park,
201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
♦ (815) 724-6760;
Updated: July 8, 2013 6:13AM
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s Billie Limacher’s motto, and it’s proven successful for 39 seasons of Concerts on the Hill.
The free concerts take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Bicentennial Park in Joliet.
Visitors are invited to bring chairs and blankets for hill seating and some money for concessions like hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pickles, lemonade and root beer floats.
So what’s the secret to 39 successful years? “We’re giving them what they want. It’s free,” Limacher said. “Seniors like free. Although we are getting a lot of young people now, which is great.”
Back again is the award-winning American Legion Band, performing three times this summer, as well as the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.
“We have something for everybody, really,” she said. “We have young people, we have barbershop, we have soloists, we have marching bands — we have every kind of band.”
Personally, Limacher said she looks forward to seeing familiar faces in the crowd as she walks around before each concert. It’s a chance for her to chat with folks she hasn’t seen since the previous summer.
“I guess seeing the people is the thing that excites me the most,” she said. “Although I like the hot dogs, too.”
A new act to keep an eye out for is a teenage soloist named Lexi Smith.
“She has been coming here for drama classes, and she’s really talented. This time, she has a spot all of her own,” she said. “I’m excited about that.”
Visitors to the Concerts on the Hill will get a sneak peek at two summer musicals being performed at the park this summer. On June 13, a musical preview of “Cabaret” will be performed by the newly formed Latitude 41.
On Aug. 8, the Joliet Drama Guild will perform a musical preview of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Limacher said the Concerts on the Hill is a wonderful place to showcase community talent. “There are so many talented people. Usually a town of this size will have one or two bands, and we have enough to fill a spot every week,” she said. “We have affordable entertainment, and it’s a beautiful spot. At the end of the evening and you’re there on the hill and you see the fireflies … it’s very pretty.”
The schedule, which was set to kick off June 6, includes:
JUNE 13: Bicentennial Pops Band, “Cabaret” musical preview, Tinley Park Community Band.
JUNE 20: Joliet Central High School Big Band, Joliet Township High School Alumni Choir and Joliet West Jazz Band.
JUNE 27: Bicentennial Pops Band and Joliet Junior College Jazz Band.
JULY 11: Bicentennial Pops Band and Cloggin’ Craze and Kidz Clog.
JULY 18: Plainfield Community Choir, soloist Lexi Smith and American Legion Band.
JULY 25: Stay Tuned String Band and Chorus of DuPage Barbershop.
AUG. 1: Keigher Academy of Irish Dance and Frankfort Brass Band.
AUG. 8: Bicentennial Pops Band, Joliet Drama Guild’s “Bye Bye Birdie” preview and Times III Dance Academy.
AUG. 15: Too Loud Polka Band, Eddie Korosa and the Boys from Illinois Polka Band.
AUG. 22: Joliet Central High School Marching Band, soloist Karen Isberg and Midwest Crossroad Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.
AUG. 29: Joliet Township High School Orchestra and Joliet American Legion Band.