by Rick Winterson
For the last several years the Curley Community Center has hosted an Annual End-of-Summer Beach Party on its enclosed beach on the M Street side of the Center. This year was no exception; it was a fitting way to bid summer goodbye. The party was presented with the courtesy of Massport, at the Curley Center, which is part of the City of Boston’s Centers for Youth and Families. The weather smiled, the refreshments refreshed, and the entertainment was excellent. And the event was blessedly free and open to all. With many guests entering and exiting it was hard to estimate the crowd; but perhaps several hundred were in attendance. Until the sun set water play was the order of the evening. Mother Nature also was smiling, as she had created a natural sandy and safe wading pool for toddlers. Three red-clad lifeguards kept an eagle eye on the swimmers, young and old alike, who swam without incident. After the swimming and splashing ended, there were face painting and balloon designs by Vladimir the Balloon Man. Epic duels were fought all evening long by young warriors: both girls and boys, equipped with swords made from balloons. Mix 104.1 (FM) had their usual table. The refreshments consisted of beach party food. The Sausage Guy provided endless hot dogs, hamburgers, and of course, sausages, sausages, sausages. Chips, popcorn, soft drinks, and Hoodsie ice creams filled everyone up. Nourishing? We can’t say, but it was certainly good, tasty, and fitting to the occasion. A word about the music. In the past, the band had consisted of Leo Stapleton, the Linehan brothers – Rich and Bill, and Southie favorites, Bob Dunlap and Kathi Taylor. Teddy O’Brien then joined them, rendering his own vocals as well as his rhythmic support on bass. This year, John Kelly showed up with his harmonica, which he plays extremely well. That made a group consisting of seven instrumentalists, many of whom doubled on the vocals – a septet in classical terms. It was also in part an Elvis night, apparently. “Who Do You Love …?”, “All Shook Up”, with a diversion to the Eagles at “Hotel California”. As usual, the evening’s music was split into two sets, and the group had played earlier that day, so by the second set, they were wailing for sure. It has become kind of a tradition at the Annual Beach Party that the second set is really an epic performance. Last Wednesday did not disappoint! So how’s this for the group’s name? “Southie’s Summer Second Set Septet” with the following roster of artists: Bill Linehan (guitar, lead vocals), Rich Linehan (guitar), Leo Stapleton (lead guitar, vocals), Teddy O’Brien (bass, vocals), Bob Dunlap (guitar, vocals), Kathi Taylor (drums, vocals), and John Kelly (harmonica). A good time was had by all. Have a Happy Labor Day, and wait till next year for the Second Set Septet.