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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Thursday night, August 8, in the gazebo in front of the library, the Medfield Employers and Merchants Organization (MEMO) presented The Shane Wood Jazz Trio, a jazz band led by Medfield resident/Berklee College of Music grad Shane Wood on vocals and piano, Neil Kruszkowski on saxophone and vocals, and Bruce Owens on drums.
Wood has performed the event many times - something MEMO member Russ Hallisey said is intentional, as it’s all about loyalty and having a performer with a Medfield connection.
“We have nine shows a year, and each year I bring back the same ones from the prior year, as a kind of loyalty thing. If they come and play, we’ll bring them back. Shane has been with us for several years - he’s a local resident, and I select bands based on their connection to Medfield, so we don’t really bring in bands from the outside unless there’s a connection. We do that because this is a community event, and having the connection to the town draws people. Plus, we have a lot of talent in Medfield to draw from.”
Besides the local connection, the concerts have an unbeatable price: they’re free. So, when it came time for Hallisey to give his best sales pitch about the event, there was no question what he would lead off with.
“The MEMO organization puts them on for free,” he said. “It’s a free concert, but it’s also a social event. You’ll notice most of the people here are about knee-high, so it’s a great event for families to come, have a pizza on the lawn, sit back for a couple hours and take in some easy-listening music.”
But if you’re really cool, you don’t show up to the concerts in a dress shirt or a polo shirt - you show up in an official Medfield concert tee shirt to prove you’re not a bandwagon jumper. Organizers produce tee shirts every year that advertise what bands are playing, and on what date - an idea Hallisey invented.
“We do tee shirts each year,” said Hallisey. “I took the idea from when bands go on tour and put all the cities on the back, so each year, I have all the bands and their evening hosts.”
MEMO’s annual summer concert series has now concluded for the year, with The Keith Curbow Studio Band having played the final installment last Thursday. Medfielders, meanwhile, are left with a plethora of wonderful memories, some very nice looking tee shirts, and a sense of appreciation for the local businesses, organizations, and performers that made summer in their small town that much more idyllic.