After bringing eclectic local music right to the community's front door (literally) the last three years, Circle of Friends will go on hiatus starting next month. But its founders aren't stepping away from the music scene altogether.
Co-founder Geneva DiTaranto said the decision to shelve the concert-organizing enterprise didn't come easy.
"It was a very hard decision. We're emotionally invested in Circle of Friends ... and it's going to be very hard to give up," she said.
Organizing a concert every month for the last three years was a trying task, DiTaranto explained. "There comes a point where your audience starts drifting away ... After a while you need to make a change."
That change came in the form of Jo Horton, program coordinator for the Burlington County Library system. Horton, who has known DiTaranto since high school, sought to use of Circle of Friends' connections to bring artists to the county’s newest performance space at library headquarters in Westampton.
The 250-seat auditorium is a complement to the library’s outdoor amphitheater, also in Westampton.
DiTaranto and Circle of Friends co-founder Kathy Simon landed more than a half dozen local artists for the library’s “Sundays on Stage” free concert series, which began earlier this month and runs every Sunday through December.
“We are extremely grateful,” said Horton. “Why reinvent the wheel? They already had this great collection of artists … We wouldn’t have been able to do it without Circle of Friends.”
For their part, DiTaranto and Simon were happy to help. It’s a natural extension of what they were already doing with Circle of Friends. They plan to continue helping the library find great local artists to perform.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity for people to come out and enjoy these bands,” said DiTaranto.
“We will reach more people through (the library’s concerts),” Simon remarked.
As for Circle of Friends, DiTaranto and Simon said they may resurrect the house concert concept down the line, but would scale back the monthly shows to perhaps quarterly performances.
Circle of Friends will hold a final concert on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Hunter’s Farm and Market. The outdoor concert will feature Ben Arnold performing “bluesy rock and roll.”
Tickets are either $10 (which supports the artist) or $19 (which supports both the artist and Circle of Friends). Tickets can be purchased on the group’s website. Doors open at 7 p.m. The concert starts at 7:30. And as always, guests are encouraged to bring food for everyone to share after the show.