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Moon Tunes concerts return, with dedication of new bandshell

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A summer tradition in La Crosse has returned, in an improved setting.

“Welcome back, Moon Tunes,” said concert organizer Terry Bauer on Thursday before the opening concert of the Moon Tunes series for 2021.

Bauer and other members of the Bandshell Consortium were part of the opening night ceremonies Thursday at the new Riverside bandshell.

Several hundred people sat at the bandshell or brought chairs to enjoy the concert, as vendors also did business at the park.

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds calls the bandshell a “remarkable monument,” and a project he had a small part in, working with the Whole Trees company before winning the mayor’s race in April.

Reynolds gave credit to designer Roald Gundersen for creating the wood canopy for the remodeled stage first used around 1930.

Thursday’s show with Bill Miller, TUGG and the La Crosse Symphony was the first of 12 Moon Tunes concerts set for Thursdays this summer. They can also be streamed at AroundRiverCity.com.

Dave Clements, also with the Bandshell Consortium, called the stage and canopy an “iconic structure that hopefully will outlive all of us, and for generations to come, will be enjoyed by families that aren’t even formed yet.”

A temporary stage was used for the concerts in 2019 while construction was happening, and COVID caused the entire Moon Tunes season to be cancelled last year.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.