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Music at twilight

Music at twilight

Percussionist Tony Donate, of the musical group A Taste of Herb, plays with his band at the courthouse lawn of Denton's downtown square. The group played as the nights featured entertainment for the event "Twilight Tunes", a program developed by the Denton Main Street Association. Photo Credit: Katie Jenkins

Music at twilight
May 31
17:12 2017

Kayla Henson | Staff Writer

Twilight Tunes provides song and dance on summer nights

On a warm, windy Thursday night in Denton, dozens gathered on the green grass of the Courthouse Lawn to enjoy the summer breeze and free music. With lawn chairs, blankets and food in hand, families and friends wave at familiar friendly faces as they find open patches of lawn to unwind.

Guitars are strummed and drums are tapped as the band of the week begins tuning their instruments and the crowd begins clapping in anticipation. The sun dims over the towering courthouse. The community’s dancers stretch their limbs, ready to express themselves through the music. This is a regular Thursday night on the Square. It’s Twilight Tunes.

The Denton Main Street Association hosts the free Twilight Tunes gathering every Thursday night on the lawn of the Denton County Courthouse during the summer months. Friends and families gather to enjoy live music, conversations, food and drinks while children run around the yard.

On May 25, Taste of Herb took their usual spots with their instruments in hand. Their third year playing Twilight Tunes, they are no stranger to Denton’s lively community. The band pays tribute to famous musician Herb Alpert, most famously known for his hit instrumental song “Rise.”

Jon Wier, lead band member, trumpet and flugelhorn player, started the band five years ago with the help of his friend Joe Cripps from the Denton Brave Combo music group. Wier has been blind for the past nine years, though it has not hindered him from consistently performing for audiences all over the country.

Twilight Tunes and bands like Brave Combo, known for its many accolades, such as two Grammy wins, are why fans such as Elizabeth Fitzpatrick come out week after week. Fitzpatrick is one of the many who find themselves taken over by the funky music enough to dance in front of the crowd.

With the funky tunes of brass music in the background, children dance with each other at the courthouse lawn in downtown Denton on Thursday May 25. Many families and Denton residents enjoy their evening listening to “A Taste of Herb”, a tribute band for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Katie Jenkins.

“Dancing just feels freeing,” Fitzpatrick said, breathless after a full set of songs. “I can’t not dance.”

Once the music begins, dancers, both old and young, sway and shake in front of the crowd as the band belts out groovy music. As more people begin to gather and let loose, the onlookers slowly get up from their lawn chairs and join.

Though Fitzpatrick is one of the first ones to get up and dance, Denton resident Lynn Brooks is right behind her.

“I’ve gone to every Twilight Tunes for the past 21 years,” Brooks said, beaming with pride. “[I’ve] never missed a single one.”

A sound man and electrical technician throughout the 1980s, Brooks has been interested in music his entire life. The free music Twilight Tunes has to offer makes every Thursday summer night in Denton a special one.

“Any opportunity to dance, I’m there,” Brooks said.

Besides the opportunity for song and dance, Twilight Tunes also gives Dentonites the opportunity to gather together, with some attending the festival through many generations.

Donna Kerner, a Denton resident of over 60 years, tries to never miss Twilight Tunes. She remembers the memories she has shared with her family at this event over the past 14 years, things she hopes to never forget.

“My daughter is 24 now, when she was 10 I had her birthday party out here [Twilight Tunes],” Kerner said. “I brought all the girls out, we had pizza and they danced to the Twilight Tunes.”

The Denton community shares the same sentiment in supporting Twilight Tunes attendance. A Beth Marie’s ice cream cart can be found located adjacent to the band, offering cold comfort in the summer heat. The UNT athletic program also made an appearance with fun games for kids and donation buckets passed around during the concert to help benefit their program.

While Twilight Tunes will only be going on for a few more weeks, people are already gearing up for what’s next.

“All these people coming together having community enjoying outdoors, not sitting and watching a TV, and having local artist play,” Wine Squared owner Brook Ray said. “There’s nothing else like that.”

Rachel Kressin contributed to this article

Featured Image: Percussionist Tony Donate, of the musical group A Taste of Herb, plays with his band at the courthouse lawn of Denton’s Downtown Square. The group played as the night’s featured entertainment for Twilight Tunes, a program developed by the Denton Main Street Association. Katie Jenkins

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Kayla Henson

Kayla Henson

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