This year, Music in the Park is going local.
The Olympia Downtown Association’s summer series, with offerings from country, funk, jazz and classic rock, will host only one band from outside the area: The Tickled Pinks, an Andrews Sisters-style trio based in New York City.
The Pinks are known for three-part harmony, and one of the singers, Stephanie Layton, was born and raised in Olympia.
“I’m so excited that we’re doing Music in the Park,” Layton said. “I’ve been going to Sylvester Park my whole life.”
A 2002 Capital High graduate, she grew up doing shows with the now-defunct Capital Playhouse, starting in the Kids at Play program, which provided theatrical training for many area performers, and she also had roles in the playhouse’s regular Season in the Box.
“I played the title role in ‘Evita’ when I was 17,” she said. “That was my biggest deal part.”
In January, Layton performed in Olympia again with The Tickled Pinks, playing a gig at the Olympia Country Club. The show was a big success, thanks in part to Layton’s friends and family. Her parents, Mark and Patty Layton, still live here.
“It was overwhelming,” said Stephanie Layton, 32. “So many people I knew growing up are still in the area. There were plenty of people that I didn’t know, too.
“We had to turn people away. We sold out. It was incredible.”
Mayor Cheryl Selby gave the band a key to the city. (Layton has a connection to Selby as well: The mayor owns Vivala, and Patty Layton works there.)
Even before that show, The Tickled Pinks were invited to apply for Music in the Park.
Kim Combs, the downtown association’s event and volunteer coordinator, saw a poster downtown and was smitten by the singers’ retro clothes. “I noticed the poster in a window,” Combs said. “The gals are just adorable.”
The band’s connection to the Music in the Park show started even before the sold-out show, when event and volunteer coordinator Kim Combs saw the Pinks’ poster downtown. She was charmed by their vintage style and emailed them to apply, she said.
Layyton studied musical theater at the University of Michigan and then moved to New York. She went to some theater auditions, but quickly decided that her heart was in music, not musical theater.
And in retro music, specifically. Besides harmonizing with fellow Pinks Karla Moheno and Kate Sland, she has her own band, Eden Lane, which plays ’20s-’40s jazz.
“When I went to school for musical theater, I always found myself drawn to doing the more like cabaret type stuff,” she said. “My personal style was always very retro. I’ve always loved old movies and any and all things vintage.
“My voice tends to fit that type of music as well.”
Music in the Park
In its 37th year, the Olympia Downtown Association’s outdoor concert series once again attempts to offer something for every musical taste.
When: 7-8 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 26, plus a Friday concert from 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 5.
Where: Sylvester Park on Capitol Way, Olympia, except the Aug. 5 event, which is at Port Plaza at the Port of Olympia.
Information: 360-357-8948 or musicintheparkolympia.com.
Wednesday: Randy Linder Band (classic rock), Olympia.
July 13: The Olson Brothers Band (country), Olympia.
July 20: Pumphouse (classic rock), Olympia.
July 27: Swing 49 (gypsy jazz), Olympia.
Aug. 3: Blind Facsimile (classic rock), Olympia.
Aug: 5: Blues County Sheriff (old-school blues), Olympia.
Aug. 10: DBST (funk), Olympia.
Aug. 17: The Tickled Pinks (swing), New York City.
Aug. 24: 56th Army Jazz Band, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.