6 events to enjoy this July

Opera in the Park will be July 21

Concerts on the Square
Concerts on the Square – held Wednesdays from June 27 to Aug. 1 – is in its 35th year. So you should know by now to scope out parking and sitting spots, pick beverages, pack food and gather family and friends for one of Madison’s most cherished summer traditions. The six-show series on Capitol Square reaches its peak this month, including a selection of Journey and Queen music on July 18. Music director and conductor Andrew Sewell has overseen 18 seasons during his Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra tenure. “We appreciate the vision and support of the founders and all those who continue to support this wonderful concert series with weekly audiences as large as 40,000,” Sewell says. July 4, 11, 18 and 256 events to enjoy this July

Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case
No female musician has headlined a concert at Breese Stevens Field since it was renovated and re-opened for concerts in 2015. Neko Case is a big enough act to get top billing, but she’s coming as Ray LaMontagne’s “very special guest.” Known for the songwriting skills and lush vocals she contributes to The New Pornographers, Case has a strong fan base all her own, too. The indie-rock and alt-country singer is promoting “Hell-On,” a solo album released a month ago. Meanwhile, growling and purring are staples of LaMontagne’s unmatched vocal style. LaMontagne won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise.” He released his seventh studio disk, “Part of The Light,” in May. July 66 events to enjoy this July

Art Fair on the Square
Surprises will be sprinkled throughout Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s 60th annual Art Fair on the Square, says Erika Monroe-Kane, MMoCA communications director. The event, MMoCA’s biggest fundraiser, has grown from a sidewalk sale to a showcase of 485 artists drawing a crowd of 200,000 to Capitol Square. Fifty-seven new artists will show their work this year, the juried fair retains a waiting list for others. July 14-156 events to enjoy this July

Dane County Fair
With so many food and entertainment opportunities for adults and children at the Dane County Fair, attendees would be hard pressed to eat and drink their way through the four-day event plus take in all the activities. Kid’s Band Night is Thursday night, cover band Madison County plays Friday night and contemporary Christian singer Ryan Stevenson performs Saturday night. Animal lovers won’t want to miss “K9s in Flight,” a performance by acrobatic dogs. Carnival rides will be set up at Alliant Energy Center for the duration of the fair. Youth exhibitors from organizations including 4-H and Future Farmers of America will participate in myriad competitive events. July 19-22

Opera in the Park
For local opera lovers, there’s nothing more transcendent than arias sung under a starry sky. This has become a staple on Madison’s west side as Madison Opera hosts Opera in the Park for the 17th year at Garner Park. Conductor Gary Thor Wedow, who has worked with the Nashville Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, directs the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera Chorus. Sopranos Brenda Rae and Talise Trevigne, tenor John Lindsey and baritone Levi Hernandez will all perform. Spectators can bring blankets and chairs to grab a spot as early as 7 a.m. for the concert that starts at 8 p.m. July 216 events to enjoy this July

“Waitress”
The transition from film to Broadway stage was seamless for “Waitress,” featuring music and lyrics by pop music singer Sara Bareilles. The musical could be considered for an award for best pie placement, if there were such a category. Jenna is a waitress and pie baker who aims to flee a miserable marriage. She’s surrounded by friends offering advice and a doctor wanting to steal her heart. The show – with a baking contest twist – is slated for Overture Center for the Arts’ Overture Hall, and patrons likely will leave hankering for a slice of French silk pie. July 24-29

Tamira Madsen is a Fitchburg-based writer.