UNION COUNTY, NJ — On Wednesday, July 27, the first half of The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series came to a conclusion at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside. As of Aug. 3, the series resumed at Oak Ridge Park in Clark. The final performance at Echo Lake Park featured a free yoga session by Christa Lapinig of House Yoga in Kenilworth. The outdoor yoga session set the tone for the concert performance featuring Scotch Plains native, Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens.
“This was my first yoga in the park but I go to the concerts all the time,” said Alyson Guerriero, of Westfield. “I saw The Eagles last summer. I’m also going to the one next week at Oak Ridge Park.”
Guerriero was joined by her sister, Jessica, for her first yoga session in the park. Both girls said they enjoyed taking their practice outdoors. It was Jessica’s first yoga and concert series event.
“It was awesome to be able to practice yoga outdoors,” said Jessica Guerriero of Cranford. “It’s so much more open and free. I plan to attend the event next week also.”
Yogis gathered on the grass of Echo Lake Park to bring their practice into the open air. There was a strong sense of community as people across Union County came together to participate in this event. Lapinig even incorporated this into the practice as she encouraged yogis to find stability with each other.
“My favorite part about yoga is the community,” said Lapinig. “I love teaching outdoors because it’s so much more serene. I taught here last year too. Sometimes it’s more challenging to practice outdoors because there are more distractions, but it’s also easier in a way. I’ve been teaching a little over two years now, and I teach about three or four times per week. I plan on attending more of these events because some of my friends will be teaching other yoga sessions at the park. It’s a beautiful place to be.”
As the band took the stage, Dinizio fondly reminisced about his youth spent in Union County. He took the audience through a musical history of his life. He even brought the audience’s attention to the old-fashioned Good Humor truck that was selling ice cream at the event.
Dinizio was named one of New Jersey’s best singers along with Frank Sinatra. The Smithereens are best known for their radio hit “Blood and Roses.” The British Invasion is the theme of the concert series this summer, and Dinizio honored bands such as The Beatles for changing his life.
“The White Album by The Beatles blew my mind,” Dinizio told audience members. “It was a revolution.”
Dinizio revealed Ozzy Osbourne as his musical idol. He spoke about the first concert he ever attended, Black Sabbath at Union Catholic. He also got to meet Ozzy that night.
“Ozzy was everything I wanted to be,” Dinizio said.
The band covered songs by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Tom Petty and other classic rock groups. The audience sang and danced along to the songs that have stood the test of time. The band even took an audience request and played a song by The Kinks.