Submitted photoThe band

Submitted photoThe band "Connected" will perform in the lone Summer Breeze concert this year at the Newbold-White House on Sunday.

Lone Summer Breeze concert hits the stage Sunday

By Peter Williams

The Perquimans Weekly

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HERTFORD — After 14 years, Perquimans County’s Summer Breeze concert series will be down to just one performance, not three.

Dee Ponte, a volunteer with the Perquimans County Restoration Association that puts the show on, said it simply came down to an issue of scheduling. The only show this year will be held Sunday from 6-8 p.m. The band “Connected” will perform as well as the chorus from Hertford Grammar School.

Connected has performed five times at Summer Breeze since 2007.

The performances are traditionally held on a Sunday evening on the grounds of the historic Newbold-White House on Harvey Point Road. Bands are brought in and crowds bring their own chairs for the free performance. In the event of rain, the event is moved to the Perquimans County Recreation Center.

Ponte said finding a date to hold the concerts didn’t used to be so hard, but there are more and more things going on in the area. The concerts typically draw from Perquimans County residents and people from Edenton and Chowan County. Some come from Elizabeth City, which Ponte said “has something going on all the time.”

The restoration group’s annual garden party, traditionally the biggest fundraiser of the year, is usually held on the third Saturday in May.

“Well that fell at the same time there was the Potato Festival,” Ponte said. “There is no way we can compete with that. When the Potato Festival was one day, that’s one this but they went to three days? No way.”

This year the garden party was held May 31.

“We found ourselves running into conflicts with other organizations,” Ponte said.

Edenton holds a concert series on the third Sunday of the month, so Ponte felt the Hertford one could be safe with the second Sunday.

It doesn’t take a lot of volunteers to put on a concert, but the preservation group has few volunteers. Something as simple as putting out fliers for an event is a problem when you don’t have the manpower. Ponte found herself driving all over Perquimans County to deliver fliers and drove to Elizabeth City to handle a packet to someone there to pass them around.

Financial support is a problem, but that wasn’t the reason the schedule was scaled back.

“We’ve got our special five steady donors — Captain Bob’s, Woodards, Family Care, Overton’s Garage and Bembridge Insurance that are always there to support us,” Ponte said.

At one point the group had 10 businesses who supported it. Now many of them say they can’t do it this year, Ponte said.

The concerts aren’t that costly to put on, but they do cost money.

“We never try to raise more money than we absolutely need,” Ponte said.

Of all the reasons the concert season was reduced, financial support was the least of the issues, Ponte said.

The weather was also a factor, said Julia Stapleton, a volunteer with the Perquimans Arts League, a group that supports Summer Breeze through the N.C. Arts Council.

Funding is provided through business and community donations and the Grassroots Grant and sent to PAL from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

“Our role is to support other arts in the county, but the weather has been very fickle for it,” Stapleton said of the concert series. “In June, it’s cooler. This year we said ‘let’s try it with just one concert.’”

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