By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Walpole's common is a piece of green lawn sitting in the middle of the town center, constantly flanked by passing traffic and pedestrians. Though unassuming, this lawn has, for years, hosted countless hours of entertainment, been the site of dozens of ceremonies, and provided a place to sit and enjoy the day. Its emptiness during COVID was often conspicuous.
Equally conspicuous was its liveliness last Tuesday.
Summer concerts are back in Walpole. On Tuesday, July 20, the appropriately-named Back in Time Band played for an audience on the common, bringing the town back to its pre-pandemic summer festiveness.
The band played oldies covers for two hours, running through a set of hit songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. From covers of popular songs like “Sweet Caroline” to “Surfin' USA,” there was music for almost everyone to enjoy.
Walpole revelers set up picnic blankets and chairs around the lawn of the common, making sure they had the perfect spot for the concert’s duration. As the music played, outdoor seating at restaurants near the common filled with customers, eager to enjoy the music while eating. Young children, who were perhaps too young to recognize any of the tunes, made their own entertainment by chasing after one another in games of tag.
Unlike the youngest audience members, adult attendees recognized the significance of sitting on the common.
Last summer, the traditional summer concert series was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Its absence was felt among residents who enjoy the regular Tuesday night concerts with their friends and family.
“It’s great to see people back out and about,” said Officer Kyle Griffin, with his son Killian enjoying the show alongside him. “These guys are playing all the hits.”
Annmarie Bielenian and her friends sat in chairs as they enjoyed the music. “I’ve been coming to these for years," said Bielenian. "We always come. I’m surprised they were having them this year. I try to come to as many as I can.” Though she and her friends attended concerts in other spots during the pandemic, Bielenian is happy to see the concerts back at the common. “I’m glad to see it’s back in the neighborhood, and I love to support the community - and being able to see everyone’s face,” she explained with a smile.
Despite their absence since the summer of 2020, Walpole's concerts on the common are back - and with the same popular following that they had before the pandemic.
The next concert is scheduled for August 3 at 6 p.m.; it will be held on Stone Field rather than the common.