The Sounds of Summer
The Mosquito Serenade Summer Concert Series…
The Mosquito Serenade began in 1982 with a man, a jam and a plan to make musical performances a staple at Anderson River Park. This year, the free summer concert series, one of the most popular north of Sacramento, celebrates its 40th anniversary.
In 1982, Harry Sippel was new to his role as the director of Anderson Parks and Recreation (1981-1999) when he and other city employees began playing music together at the park under the name the Clover Creek Rovers.
Although attendance was initially small at these performances held in the picnic area, Sippel and his partners chose to name their “concert” series The Mosquito Serenade, a nod to both their small size (“like a mosquito,” Sippel says) and the band’s purpose of “serenading the people.” The fact that a lot of mosquitos were present on an average summer night clinched it.
As the early events grew and expanded, so did Sippel’s vision of creating a permanent home for musicians and bands at the park. This would require money, construction and approval by the Anderson City Council, so Sippel kept his request simple. Rather than asking the city for the money, he instead sought its permission to “pass a hat” during performances to collect the donations needed to build a stage.
It worked. Donations from community members, local businesses and sponsors have funded facility improvements through the years – from the installation of a concrete slab to the addition of a covered stage, an amphitheater and a dance floor – resulting in the creation of the Anderson River Park Amphitheater, home to the Mosquito Serenade.
Generous donations have also funded music artists from all over the country, hired to perform at the venue. And they have funded sound equipment, big screen TVs and now the installation of an LED wall for better viewing during daylight hours.
“We like to say that we are the hottest show in the coolest place on a summer night,” says Anderson City Manager Jeff Kiser. “We even have boats that pull up on the levee and listen to music right there.”
Kiser emphasizes the family-friendly nature of the event and says, “Some people come to dance, some come to listen to the music, and some come to see old friends and visit.” To ensure everyone’s safety, he says the Mosquito Serenade enforces only three rules: no dogs except service animals, no smoking, and no glass containers.” The Anderson Police Department provides on-site security.
Despite smoke from the Dixie Fire affecting last year’s performances and the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiser is optimistic about the coming season.
“We’re back bigger and better than ever,” he says. “We really worked hard to make this season special and it’s one of the best lineups we’ve ever had.” Country artist Pam Tillis will headline the final concert of the season on August 17. Kiser says she is probably the biggest name the Mosquito Serenade has ever featured and is excited that she’s coming back to help celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary.
The concert series runs every Wednesday evening from 6-9 p.m., June 8 through August 17 (no show June 22) and features bands of all musical genres from around the country. “There’s a little something for everyone,” says Kiser, “and every week is different than the week before.” He estimates that each show draws between 2,000 and 5,000 people.
Concessions are available for those who want to have dinner and catch up with friends during the opening acoustic act.
“The city of Anderson is very proud that we’ve offered a free concert for 40 years,” says Kiser. “This wouldn’t be possible without our community members, our local sponsors and the businesses that provide the revenue that helps fund it.” •
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Article Written By:
Claudia Mosby is a Redding-based freelance writer. She is the founder and director of The Expressive Spirit, a wellness company in Mt. Shasta offering spiritual direction, arts and nature-based activities and consultancy for grief and loss.