A ‘wonderful’ place to play: Summer concert series in Talleyrand Park features solo folk artist

Jerry Haines plucked his guitar, played his harmonica and spent an hour entertaining the about 60 people gathered in Talleyrand Park for a free concert Sunday.

The show is part of an ongoing series of concerts called Summer Sounds from the Gazebo in the park. It’s hosted by the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association.

“It was a wonderful, beautiful place to play,” Haines said of the venue.

Haines began playing full-time 36 years ago, and playing music has been his only job ever since. He played songs from artists such as Woody Guthrie, Hot Tuna and Peter Yarrow.

Menacing clouds threatened to dump water on the spectators, but the rain held off long enough. Haines said he was worried about the rain all day, and he was pleasantly surprised it didn’t dampen the performance.

Toward the end of the show Haines put the guitar aside and pulled out an autoharp to add variety to the instrumental stylings.

Haines said he loves live music, but said the most important aspect of any performance is the sound.

“Music was never intended to be a spectacle, in my opinion,” he said. “It’s what comes out of the speakers, in my opinion, that matters the most.”

The musical series runs from June to August each year. It began in 1981.

Peter Helmers made the drive from Altoona just to see the concert for the first time and he was not disappointed.

He saw pictures online and decided to check it out to listen to some folk music. Helmers has always been a big fan of the genre because of its honesty and simplicity.

“It deals with issues I can very much relate to,” he said. “It has a message often.”

Haines encouraged people to come out to future concerts in the park to support live music.

“It’s an hour of just having a good time and sitting back and relaxing,” he said.