Free ‘Pops In The Park’ Concert Set for June 9 in Waveny [Q&A]


Scenes from the inaugural Pops In The Park concert at Waveny in 2022. Photo courtesy of Norwalk Symphony Orchestra

The third “Pops In The Park” concert from Norwalk Symphony is scheduled for June 9 in Waveny. A local nonprofit organization with two successful concerts under its belt, Pops In The Park is led by Doug Kerridge.

We put some questions to Kerridge about the organization and the upcoming concert.

Here’s our exchange.


New Canaanite: Before we talk about the upcoming June 9 concert, please give our readers some background on Pops in the Park. When did the organization start, what is its mission, and who is involved?

Scenes from the inaugural Pops In The Park concert at Waveny in 2022. Photo courtesy of Norwalk Symphony Orchestra

Doug Kerridge: Growing up on the East Coast, I loved attending the annual Boston Pops outdoor concerts on Cape Cod and Nantucket, and the NY Philharmonic summer concerts in Central Park. Coming out of Covid in early 2022, I thought that Waveny Park would be a perfect setting for a similar outdoor concert in New Canaan that would be something special for my then house-bound kids and the New Canaan community. 

I reached out to the Norwalk Symphony through Ned Tipton, the music director at St. Mark’s Church, and received a quick positive response. The Symphony was excited about the proposed concert and Chris Bell, their board chair, and Sandra Miklave, their executive director, were great partners in getting everything together in just a few months for our inaugural concert in June 2022. We also couldn’t have done it without Chris Gruseke and Bankwell, who was our key initial sponsor and remains our largest financial supporter. 

Our Pops in the Park committee was established in March 2022 and is comprised of New Canaan residents Matt Campbell, Dawn Sterner, Vanessa Lowry, my wife Susie, and myself. We organize and fundraise for the concert, and work with the local public and private schools to get the word out to students via their music teachers, and with the Lapham Community center to reach our senior community.

In addition, the town has been very supportive of our efforts from day one and we can’t say enough about how helpful Tucker Murphy, John Howe, Bea Watkins, George Benington, and the entire Parks and Rec Commission have been in making Pops in the Park a success, as have the many volunteers from the Scouts and SLOBs who help us on the day of the concert. 

How did your first two summer concerts go, and what were your big takeaways from them?

Scenes from the inaugural Pops In The Park concert at Waveny in 2022. Photo courtesy of Norwalk Symphony Orchestra

Our first two concerts were a great success and both “sold out,” with over 1,200 attendees for our June 2022 concert and over 1,500 for our second concert last June. Waveny Park proved to be an amazing venue. The Norwalk Symphony orchestra and Jonathan Yates, the music director and conductor, put on two great shows that left the audience wanting more each time.   

At a more practical level, we continue to tweak the sound system, which is greatly improved from the first concert.  

Talk to us about the June 9 concert. What would you tell people who weren’t able to attend your first two concerts but enjoy classical instrumental music?

The theme of the upcoming June 9th concert will be “Broadway Lights!” Our program will focus on music from popular Broadway musicals such as Annie, West Side Story, Guys & Dolls and The Phantom of the Opera. We’re also excited to have the vocals of Mia Gentile, who has performed with the Norwalk Symphony as Carrie in Carousel and Marian in The Music Man.

We know that early June can be a hectic time of year for New Canaan families with the end of school, sports and other activities, but Pops in the Park is a wonderful way to slow down and enjoy great Broadway music in our amazing Waveny Park setting.

For the kids, it’s a great introduction to orchestral music – they’ll all know the music from Annie and will love “conducting” (with guidance from Jonathan!) as the Symphony plays John Philip Sousa’s crowd favorite: “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

How is your organization funded?

Scenes from the inaugural Pops In The Park concert at Waveny in 2022. Photo courtesy of Norwalk Symphony Orchestra

New Canaan Pops in the Park, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) that is funded by generous contributions from local families, businesses and foundations. Bankwell is our biggest financial sponsor and has been a great partner. We’ve also been lucky to have strong support from a number of amazing local institutions, such as the Waveny Park Conservancy, New Canaan Community Foundation, Karl Chevrolet, Walter Stewart’s Market, New Canaan Music, State Farm, Brown Harris Stevens, Franco’s Wine Merchants, HTG Investment Advisors and our newest sponsor, Cain Management (the owner of our local Dunkin Donuts), as well as a number of local families.

New Canaan is a town that’s rich in orchestral and classical music. What makes Pops In The Park stand out?

We’re glad to be a part of New Canaan’s great orchestral and classical music tradition. We think that Pops in the Park is a strong addition to that tradition, allowing the New Canaan community to come together in beautiful Waveny Park for a fun, free and family-friendly concert.

What else would you like to tell our readers about Pops in the Park or the upcoming concert?

Tickets are free and can be reserved at Eventbrite. Pops in the Park will likely “sell out,” as it has in the past two years. We encourage everyone to get your tickets soon and consider a donation to help support this local concert.

One thought on “Free ‘Pops In The Park’ Concert Set for June 9 in Waveny [Q&A]

  1. Thanks for the Q&A Mike, much appreciated. We would also like to acknowledge an additional new sponsor, Attorney Mike Franco, and say thank you again to the entire New Canaan community for its strong support of Pops. Hope to see everyone June 9th!

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