WESTERLY — Rob Holland hopes the sounds of laughter and the brightly-lit, colorfully-decorated tents on the Columbus Esplanade will attract lots of attention Saturday during the annual Summer Pops concert.
Holland is hoping everyone walking through the park on the way to the concert will be intrigued enough by the sounds and sights that they’ll stop and ask: “What’s going on in there? How do I get a ticket?”
Holland, a trustee of The Westerly Library, serves on the library’s Pops Party Committee — along with his wife, Julie, and a half a dozen others — whose members made a bold decision to change things up this year.
Rather than keeping the library’s annual Victorian Garden Party Pops Picnic — one of the library’s biggest fundraisers of the year — sequestered away on the library’s top-floor terrace where it’s been for decades, committee members decided to join the thousands of other concert-goers in Wilcox Park and bring the party down to the Columbus Esplanade, just to the right of the library, facing the fountain.
“It’s a wholesale change,” Holland said. “We’re going to be in the midst of all the excitement,”
“It’s going to be nice to be on the ground floor,” said Julie Holland, whose mother was a longtime member of the chorus and sang in many a pops concert in the park. “I’m really excited to see how it will go and excited to bring it all together.”
“We’ve come down from the third floor,” said Daniel Snydacker, who served for a time as the library’s interim director and now serves as a consultant. “We’ve brought it down to the park, one of the most beautiful places in Rhode Island.”
For $125 per person, Snydacker said, guests at the new Pops Party will be treated to a raw bar, “plenty of good food and drink” catered by the Shelter Harbor Inn, beers from Grey Sail Brewing (who is donating all the beer for the event), and wines from Jonathan Edwards Winery of North Stonington, and a silent auction of more than 100 items all donated by local businesses. Tickets also include complimentary parking in the Washington Trust parking lot.
Snydacker said committee members — Leigh Algiere, Robert Anderson, Alison Cameron, Judy Colucci, Mallory Constantine, Rose Weston and the Hollands — have been working with him and staff members Susan Conroy, Rachel Doyle, and Executive Director Brigitte Hopkins “to make this an unforgettable evening.”
“The staff has been incredible,” Julie Holland said. “This staff is the heart and soul of the library.”
The new location, Snydacker said, will “afford a great view of the stage and the fireworks.”
“We’re known throughout New England for our park and library,” he said. “This is one of the biggest events of the year in the park and we wanted to be more of a part of it.”
Snydacker said the committee has also been working with the staff from the Chorus of Westerly and the town of Westerly to make sure the event goes smoothly and in tandem with the concert. The funds raised during the event support the library’s programs and services help the library continue to “become the kind of library Westerly and the surrounding region needs and deserves,” Snydacker said.
“Anything that brings the community together is a beautiful thing,” Julie Holland said.
Rob Holland, an owner of Pawcatuck Roofing Company, said it was important to the committee to find a way to become more visible and to attract attention so a new generation of library lovers will consider becoming involved. “The Summer Pops concert in Wilcox Park has become one of the things that makes Westerly such a special place,” Snydacker said.
“The Westerly Library and Wilcox Park Association spends countless resources, time, money and effort to keep the park in pristine condition day-in and day-out throughout the year and has done so since the park was first opened in 1898,” he said. “Through our continuing efforts and commitment to the park, we have created the perfect setting for the Westerly Chorus’s Summer Pops Concert.”
Seating is limited, and reservations must be made by Thursday. Call 401-596-2877, Ext. 322, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.westerlylibrary.org and click on the Pops Party button.