Rock the Park set at Maple Island Park

Pictured are musicians who will perform at the Rock the Park event Aug. 17 (from left): Mark Norgren, Gary Tschudy, Dwight Nelson, Jocelyn Moran, Preston Weber, Karla Jensen, Elene Tonder and Jill Moore.

Rock the Park returns for a fourth evening of rockin’ musical talent in downtown Little Falls Saturday, Aug. 17, at Maple Island Park.

The foundation band, Brothers Tone, will perform, along with many other veteran musicians. Members of Brothers Tone include Mark Norgren, Paul Roach and Karl Smith accompanied by Tom Lyseng, Dave Girtz and the Gau sisters, Angela and Christina.

The horn section includes Dwight Nelson, Gary Tschudy, Craig Mesenbring, Jocelyn Moran and Preston Weber. Background vocals will be provided by Elene Tonder, Karla Jensen and Jill Moore. The featured soloists will be John Fedor, Andy Spofford, Jim Norwood and Michael Shynes.

Rock the Park brings together lifelong music enthusiasts along with highly-trained professionals to appeal to a diverse audience. Spanning more than four decades, the set list includes hit songs from Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Amy Winehouse and many others, promising an entertaining evening on the banks of the Mississippi.

Although the event is free to attend, the Great River Arts Association will be taking donations to continue to provide the community with a wide variety of arts-related experiences such as this. This annual outdoor concert is a fundraiser for Great River Arts, but credit for creative development goes to Mark Norgren who took inspiration from the band’s “The Last Waltz.”

“Rock the Park brings local musicians together and it helps to know people from a variety of music circles in town,” said Norgren.

A Little Falls native, Norgren spent 23 years working as a principal in Alaska before deciding in 2006 to return to his hometown. Norgren started his own business and opened the coffee shop, Reality Roasters. His enthusiasm for coffee-making began in Alaska, but he also entertains a longtime passion for music.

A self-taught musician, Norgren started teaching himself to play the guitar as a kid, developing an interest in music that acted as “the driving force behind Rock the Park.” He left music temporarily during his professional career, but picked it up again after returning to Little Falls. The expertise Norgren gained through professional and performing arts endeavors makes him a creative force for Rock the Park.

“The performers volunteer their time. They play because they love it; not because they make money,” said Norgren. “For most musicians, getting to collaborate and play a live show of this scale is more about providing something special for the members of our community and being part of community contributions. We all love music and we also are firm believers in giving back to the community.”

Rock the Park’s attendance has been growing over the years. Along with the growing audience, the concert production has developed as well, each year something new has been added.

“It will really be a show this year. We are going to focus on the 70s with rock and pop type music,” said Norgren. “The energy will be high and the music will be rockin’ for a guaranteed good time for all.”

Rock the Park runs from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Food and beverage vendors will begin selling at 6 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the concert will then be held at the Little Falls Exchange Arena.