Angel Ball, manager at the Dunmanway Apartments, put together a Red Hat program for resident senior women not too long ago and recently began looking for a small project to inspire the group into action.
“I was thinking about planting flowers or something like that,” she said.
Instead, Ball, with help from her Red Hat ladies, among others, has taken on organizing the annual Concerts in the Park series. Mark Persiani, who put the event together for 20 years, announced he was stepping aside this year; the family-friendly Concert in the Park series looked for a long time like it might not come off this summer.
Ball ran into Harry Young, who volunteers at the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society, and he surprised her by pitching the idea. Young eventually pulled Ball to a meeting of the Dundalk-Eastfield Rec Council, sponsors of the event. Members voted unanimously for Ball to take over the concert series.
“Harry introduced me as ‘the Angel of Dundalk,’” the 38-year-old Patapsco High grad recalled with a chuckle.
The concert series is scheduled to begin July 14, running on consecutive Thursday nights through August 18 at Heritage Park. Admission will remain free.
Even Ball's parents, Anna and Donald Williams, had been concerned about the concert series' expected cancellation.
"They asked me if I knew that there were not going to be any Concerts in the Park this year," Ball said. "I'd already begun working on it. I told them, 'Yes, I am aware.'"
Ball said she’s already gotten the necessary permits, and now she’s working on booking bands and signing up vendors.
She’s planning for a mix of country, rock and oldies music and, hopefully, a gospel choir—family friendly and with something for everyone, she said.
Any proceeds the Dundalk-Eastfield Rec Council receives via vendors will go to the Ravens Hope Foundation. The local foundation is named after a 7-year-old Dundalk girl with disabilities.
Meanwhile, the Red Hats are behind Ball 100 percent.
"They call me their 'fearless leader,' and even though they're older than me, call 'Miss Angel,'" Ball said, laughing. "They're going to be lending a hand—they'll be at all the concerts.
"I work right across the street from Heritage Park and sometimes Dundalk gets a knock, but Dundalk is beautiful place," Ball continued. "I want people to see that."