By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– The Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group Sunset Concert Series will come to a close this Thursday when Phoenix Rising takes the stage at the Apple Valley Civic Center Amphitheater from 6 to 9 p.m. The four-member band’s eclectic sound of classic soft rock, oldies and country is expected to draw visitors from all over the Victor Valley.
“Between concert goers on the lawn, and children on the playground, to families playing in the retention basin field and pet owners enjoying the dog park, Civic Center Park has been full every week,” explained Event Coordinator Julie Gilmer.
The record-breaking attendance may be attributed to the fact that all of the bands this year were formed in or have members who grew up right here in the high desert. Phoenix Rising is no exception.
Band founder Arturo Espinosa started the band with his brother, J.R. Espinosa, in Victorville more than 25 years ago. Deeply moved as a child by his father’s soulful Mariachi vocals, as well as the influence of 1950s oldies in his childhood, Arturo’s music tendencies drifted toward country and soft rock as he played with a variety of musicians throughout the High Desert and San Bernardino County over the last two decades.
Lead guitarist Spike Loudermilk, bass player John Hill and drummer Gary Morris all provide additional vocals they have honed over the years playing in venues all over California.
“I went to work in cover bands upon graduation and worked as a full-time musician my entire adult life,” explained Morris, who has worked with artists such as The Coasters, Etta James, Charlie Daniels and the Allman Brothers.
Phoenix Rising is no stranger to the Apple Valley stage. They opened last year’s Freedom Festival and have been featured at previous Concerts in the Courtyard. Other local events the band has played include the San Bernardino County Fair, the Victorville Spice of Life Festival, Hesperia Days and many more.
“It’s always been a pleasure to play for people who appreciate good music,” said Espinoza. “Just knowing that people and their families are momentarily putting the craziness of life aside and having a good time dancing and sometimes singing along, is rewarding in and of itself, for music is surely one of God’s greatest gifts.”
Thursday’s concert will also serve as a celebration for the many sponsors who made this season’s Sunset Concert Series possible, including this week’s spotlight sponsor Guy Burnett State Farm Insurance. All sponsors will be recognized on stage and will be provided with premium seating in a VIP tent with food and beverages. Applications are already being accepted for new and returning sponsors for next year’s series. For more information about events or sponsorships please visit www.AppleValleyEvents.org or call(760) 240-7000 x 7072.
Civic Center Park is adjacent to Apple Valley Town Hall and across from Super Target in the Apple Valley Commons shopping center. Parking and admission are free. While the music is playing, park visitors can choose from an array of food choices and a beer garden. The park has inclined lawn seating, so concert goers should bring blankets or portable chairs. No pets are allowed within the concert seating area.
“It has been a pleasure providing fun, free, family entertainment to so many people this summer. I hope we have created lasting memories for all of them,” said Gilmer.