By Shanice Punnett
Summerstage, a program of the City Parks Foundation, kicks off in June in parks around the city with live performances from artists across various genres.
For one week in July, the sounds of hip hop, jazz, R & B and Latin music will fill Queensbridge Park in Long Island City.
Each of the shows, including an African-American dance troupe production, are curated by Erika Elliott, who serves as artistic director of Summerstage.
“I am constantly scouting the next big, breaking act,” she said, “but always keeping in mind the legends that have laid the foundation for each musical genre.”
Ismael Miranda, “El nino bonito de la salsa” — “the pretty boy of salsa” — gets things rolling with a show July 15 at 6 p.m.
The second event is a performance by Washington, D.C.-based R&B vocalist J. Holiday. This is scheduled for July 16 at 7 p.m.
Next, hip-hop duo Mobb Deep in association with Lyricist Lounge, have a gig slated for July 17 at 7 p.m.
On July 18, there will be a performance by the Harambee Dance Co. from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Harambee is Swahili for “let us pull together.” This company combines the essence of African and African-American dance and music and displays it from an innovative and contemporary perspective.
The 25-member company was founded in 1992 in Charleston, S.C., by husband and wife team Sandella and Frank Malloy and in 1996 it relocated to New York City.
The final event is a Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra/Rashida Bumbray/Michael Mossman and Copland Jazz. This is scheduled for July 20, at4 p.m.
It is in association with the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra features 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. This versatile orchestra performs and leads educational events in New York, across the country and around the world in concert halls, jazz clubs, public parks and dance venues.
Rashida Mumbray is a choreographer and curator. She combines dance, visual art and music in her work.
Michael Mossman is a composer and arranger who has been on the international scene since age 17. He was nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement and has composed and arranged for many orchestras and artists, including the Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall Jazz orchestras and Tito Puente.
“Over the years, I have formed wonderful working relationships with agents, managers and others in the industry,” Elliott said. “Through these trusted connections, I take in many ideas for artists, then work on the complex task of choosing an eclectic mix that best represents the unique Summerstage brand that audiences have come to love.”
Elliot also aims to connect artists with neighborhoods they came from or have a particular connection to.
Summerstage has been around for 29 seasons and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015. As for the turnout, Elliot said it is always great because of the strength of the programming and the fact that it is a globally recognized festival.
“In all of the locations where we program, we attract thousands of people,” she said. “At many of our locations where we produce shows in Queens, we have been known to fill the park with our large audience. We are looking forward to another successful run of shows in parks throughout the borough.”
All events are free. For more information on these and more events, visit summerstage.org and click “View full calendar.”