Solar Concert Series schedule announced


From SLB Radio:

1178062_solar_panel_2You probably know that it’s the closest star to Earth, rotates once every 27 days and consists mainly of hydrogen and helium. You may even know that it was formed over four and a half billion years ago, is 109 times wider than Earth and has a core temperature that can reach 27 million degrees Fahrenheit—but did you also know that the middle-aged star we call the Sun can also provide power for live music concerts?

Pittsburgh’s first green concert series is back and bigger than ever for its fourth summer season, featuring live acoustic-based performances by some of the region’s most talented musicians. The hit Solar Concert Series returns to Allegheny Square, in front of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, with nine concerts powered by a solar-energy sound system. This unique eco-friendly system captures the sun’s rays through solar panels, creating a more sustainable method of electricity. The system’s solar panels charge controllers which in turn infuse batteries. The captured solar energy is then transferred into an electronic current that carries the sound through the P.A. system.

Produced in collaboration with the New Hazlett Theater and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Solar Concert Series reflects SLB Radio Productions’ (SLB) mission to present innovative and accessible audio-based programming, provide inter-generational audiences with the chance to take part in live music events, and bring the diverse voices of local acoustic musicians to its broad audience of radio show listeners, educators, families, museum visitors, and children and youth.

Curated by SLB, the series includes artists featured on its popular radio program The Saturday Light Brigade, heard weekly on six radio affiliates by 60,000 families in 15 counties across Western Pennsylvania and portions of Ohio, as well as on PCTV and online at Spend your lunch hour enjoying free concerts by emerging and established Pittsburgh area musicians, taking in the urban outdoors at a Pittsburgh landmark and discovering some of the latest applications of solar power.

The series kicks off on July 6th with lively jazz-Klezmer sounds by The Ortner-Roberts Duo. Founded by German clarinetist Susanne Ortner and American pianist Tom Roberts in 2006, the Pittsburgh-based pair creates an unexpected yet cohesive blend of diverse musical and cultural styles that’s often dubbed “Yiddish/Creole Fusion.”

The series wraps up on August 31st with folk-rock group, Brewer’s Row, who weave intimate narratives via soulful vocals, mouth harp, acoustic guitars, stand-up bass, and piano. On August 17th, Joy Toujours and the Toys Du Jour bring their rollicking folk-pop—which features everything from ukelele and dulcimer, to accordion and megaphone—to this summer’s eclectic lineup. Don’t miss the “dean of West Virginia songwriters” Todd Burge on July 27th, cello maven Midge Crickett on August 3rd, and singer-songwriter Emily Pinkerton on July 20th.

Concerts are held in Allegheny Square, right in front of the Children’s Museum, on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side. In the event of rain, concerts are held inside the Museum’s Café. Lunch is available for sale in the Café and at nearby businesses on East Ohio Street. Outdoor seating, picnic tables and blankets are provided. Concerts are free and open to all ages.


Launched in 2008, the first-of-its-kind series spotlights innovations in sustainability and music, using an eco-friendly method of electricity and sound delivery. Along with highlighting practical energy efficient solutions, the series also serves as a showcase of homegrown musical talent. A project of the New Hazlett Theater, The Saturday Light Brigade and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Solar Concert Series is made possible with support from PPG Industries Foundation.

“We are proud to support this unique community concert series,” said Sue Sloan, executive director, PPG Industries Foundation. “It offers great summer entertainment featuring local talent, and the solar-powered sound system is very exciting. Solar and other sustainable energy technologies are of great interest to PPG. The company provides innovative glass that helps solar power modules to operate more efficiently, as well as fiber glass and coatings that help to strengthen and protect wind power turbines and towers.”

So how does it all work? Before each performance, the audience is invited to check out the sound system powered by a solar panel and built by Dave Bjornson, Technical Director of the New Hazlett Theater. Today, a solar powered sound system can also be found at national festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour, which is North America’s longest running music tour and was founded in 1994 by Lollapalooza veteran Kevin Lyman.

For performer bios and more information, visit:

July 6: Ortner Roberts Duo
July 13: Big Snow Big Thaw
July 20: Emily Pinkerton
July 27: Todd Burge
August 3: Midge Crickett
August 10: Tom Breiding
August 17: Joy Toujours and the Toys Du Jour
August 24: Paula Purnell
August 31: Brewer’s Row

Please note: The construction of the Allegheny Public Square Revitalization Project will not affect the Solar Concert Series.

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