Ralston & The Family, Strike Percussion Ensemble and Samuel Nalangira provided musical diversity on a picture-perfect night at Meijer Gardens. The recap, photo gallery and video.
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Before the all-band encore that wrapped up an epic night of music on an exquisite final evening of the 2019 edition of the Tuesday Evening Music Club at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Ralston Bowles & The Family performed the final track from Bowles’ 2004 album, “Carwreck Conversations.”
Bowles’ poignant delivery of “Draper” — after he and his band played the 15-year-old album in its entirety — included the lines: “I don’t believe that any slogans are going to bring anyone relief/I just believe that I am moving toward learning how to fly/I just believe that life is more than rehearsing how to die.”
The closing volley in the Bowles-hosted summer series that showcases local and regional acts was certainly full of life on Tuesday.
There was the lively opening set by the teenage Strike percussion and steel drum ensemble from Caledonia — who played songs by Smashmouth, blink-182 and the White Stripes, among others — followed by the guest appearance from the incredible Samuel Nalangira, a Ugandan native who builds his own instruments and who has been performing since he was a child.
Throughout it all, the 1,500-plus in attendance basked in the sunshine and perfect weather, with children gyrating and running in circles in front of the stage and adults cheering Bowles’ all-star cast of musicians.
Don Raaymakers, the teacher who has led the Strike Percussion Ensemble since 1997, said his students revel in playing for big crowds like the one gathered Tuesday at the Meijer Gardens amphitheater.
“They love music and they’re passionate about it,” he said. “They’re totally pumped.”
The 11-piece ensemble returned to the stage with Nalangira to join Bowles and his band (which reunited for this show) for an uplifting, show-ending rendition of “Oye Como Va” (popularized in 1970 by Santana), as many remaining audience members danced happily at the foot of the stage — a fitting exclamation point to another summer of musical charm.
PHOTO GALLERY: Tuesday Evening Music Club Finale with Ralston & Friends
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek and John Sinkevics
VIDEO: Tuesday Evening Music Club Highlights (8/27/19)
Copyright 2019, Spins on Music LLC