Philomenian library concerts are going To Be Continued Saturday

When the pandemic arrived in the United States, the nonprofit organization that sponsors events at the library said concerts would be continued at the North Road building.

That literally will be the case Saturday when To Be Continued takes the stage.

The four-piece acoustic band from South Kingstown will perform at 2 p.m. May 7 at the library, 26 North Road. Sponsored by the Friends of the Jamestown Philomenian Library, online reservations are required to attend the concert that is suitable for all ages.

To Be Continued has been performing for about two years with an eclectic repertoire featuring songs by Hank Williams, Eric Clapton, George Gershwin, Cab Calloway, John Denver, and Bob Dylan. The lineup consists of fiddler and guitarist Kevin Vidmar, guitarist and harmonicist Keith Olson, bassist Charlie Finnegan, and mandolinist Rick McKinney. The men share vocal duties.

“It’s acoustic, it’s country, it’s bluegrass, it’s Americana, it’s swing,” Vidmar said. “It’s a little bit of a lot of things.”

Although none of the members live in Jamestown, Vidmar was played with Saddle Up the Chicken, a bluegrass group that was led by former Watson Farm manager Don Minto. Vidmar performed with that local ensemble for about three years.

To Be Continued formed because the members were looking for a project that did not limit them to a specific genre. The band came together at the Java Madness coffee shop in South Kingstown.

“We met there and started jamming, and said ‘Hey, we could put something together,’ and we did,” Vidmar said.

The band employs all-acoustic string instruments, and it alters that instrumentation to fit the song. For example, Olson will play a kazoo on certain songs instead of the harmonica. The band members also have written original material to complement the covers they perform, including a country swing number titled “The Least You Can Do.”

According to Vidmar, the process for songs entering the band’s playlist is simple. Either a member suggests a song, or they fill slots to match the audience. For instance, they perform numbers like “Take It Easy” by the Eagles for audiences that want to dance.

“You’re always looking to fill up certain genres,” he said.

To Be Continued formed just before the pandemic, and when COVID-19 forced the shutdown, the members elected to practice by playing outside with social distancing in place. They also performed remotely on Zoom. Since their return to the stage, the reception has been positive.

“We just played the Breachway Grill in Charlestown for the first time, and as soon as we were done, they came to me with two more dates,” Vidmar said. “They wanted us back immediately. The response has been very solid because we got good material, a good three-part harmony, good instrumentation, and a good show.”

To Be Continued reached out to the library to schedule a performance after Vidmar played the venue in January 2020, just two months before the pandemic.

“A lot of people are looking for music,” he said.

Saturday’s concert does not mark the return of live music at the library, as the folk duo Atwater Donnelly performed April 9 and the jazz band Two for the Road performed April 30. Jody Pandelidis, a member of the nonprofit board that books these concerts, said the goal is to represent a range of genres in order to appeal to as wide a part of the community as possible.

To illustrate the impact of the pandemic, Pandelidis said Atwater Donnelly was scheduled to perform in March 2020, but that concert was 25 months before it could be performed safely under public health guidelines.

An online registration on the library’s website to attend these free concerts was implemented because the meeting hall has a maximum capacity of 50. At the two previous concerts, however, curious, unregistered patrons wandering around the building who stopped by the show were not turned away, Pandelidis said. There were about 30 guests for the Two for the Road show.

The best way to guarantee a seat, however, is to reserve one.

“Our hope is that it’s just a joyful, fun experience to once again be witnessing live music, which many of us have not experienced in a long time,” she said. “And just enjoy these local musicians. They’re all from around the area, and perhaps it will get people to go and seek hearing them again at other locations.”

After To Be Continued, the traditional Greek music group Tourlou, which features Pandelidis’ husband, Yanni, will take the stage May 21.

Pandelidis said the board does not schedule concerts after Memorial Day because indoor events in Jamestown, with all of its natural resources, parks, and beaches, are not heavily attended in the summer.

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