Music series founder takes his final bows

SALEM- The longtime coordinator of the Music in the Park at Waterworth Memorial Park said farewell at the last of this year’s Summer Concert Series.

Jack Yarnell, who has coordinated the free concert series for 21 years, will not continue after this year. During the intermission of the Dick Tady Orchestra’s performance at the Orashan Memorial Civic Center Band Shell Sunday, Salem civic leader Bob Sebo recognized Yarnell for his years of dedicated service to program, and those in attendance honored him with a standing ovation.

“This has all been for you,” Yarnell said, returning the praise to the fans.

Yarnell said he started the concert series on a much smaller scale, originally on Friday nights, downtown in an attempt to attract business to local merchants. After two years, he discovered the band shell in “shambles,” secured funds from the Salem Community Foundation and created Music in the Park.

“[The band shell] is a great place, Salem is lucky to have a place like this,” Yarnell said.

As coordinator Yarnell has raised money for the program, scheduled the bands and prepared the band shell area for performances.

“This has been my life down here, my home away from home,” he said. “I’ll miss the people, miss the musicians, but I getting to the point I need to take it easy.”

Yarnell said he doesn’t know what’s next for Music in the Park or if anyone will take the reins.