THE MISSION of the RBP Project is to celebrate the music and passion of late guitarist Robert “Bobby” Pothier. They’ll headline the Summer Concert and BBQ at IRP July 28. (Courtesy Photo)



NORTH READING — Classic rock and acrobatic dogs — could there possibly be a better lineup of family-friendly entertainment than this for Parks & Recreation to close out a truncated two-run Summer Concert and BBQ series?

It’s not likely! It’s “summertime summertime sum sum summertime,” and that means it’s time to kick off your shoes and enjoy the good time vibe that will be certain to rock Ipswich River Park next Wednesday, July 28 (rain date: July 29) from 5 p.m. to dusk.

On the docket is the classic rock band the RBP Project, featuring many local performers, plus the Piazza Flying Frisbee dogs.

“The RBP Project was ‘The Redeemers,’ fronted by Jerry Pothier of Reading,” said the Operations Director and Department Head of North Reading Parks and Recreation Maureen Stevens.

“I selected him the past few years as he is local to North Reading, is a friend of Bark ‘n Roll and was highly recommended,” Stevens added.

Bark ‘n Roll is the sponsor of the band while Reading Co-op will sponsor the Piazza Flying Frisbee Dogs, which will be the official entertainment for kids of all ages starting at 5:15 p.m.

BULLET, one of four Flying High Frisbee Dogs trained by Mike Piazza, was once known as the highest jumping border collie on the planet. They’ll delight young and old alike at IRP July 28. (A.E. Stevens Photography)

But back to the band. “They sing classic light rock and roll. It is the band used by Bark ‘n Roll’s Rock ‘n Rescue and was highly recommended to us. Francine Coughlin of Bark ‘n Roll generously offered to sponsor them for our series a few years back.”

The local connections are strong with this band, which consists of Drums/Vocals: Kevin Welch of North Reading; Guitar/Vocals: Jim Tata of North Reading; Keyboard/Vocals; Ernie Cataldo of Leominster; Saxophone: Mark Cataldo of Malden; Bass/Vocals: Mike Bishop; Lead Guitar: Paul Maffa; and Piano/Guitar/Vocals: Jerry Pothier of Reading.

They have describe themselves as somewhat of a tribute band to one of their own. This collection of professional musicians, friends and families have “come together” to remember guitarist Bobby Pothier who lost a courageous battle to liver cancer this past February.

Their mission is to go out and celebrate the music and passion of Robert “Bobby” Pothier with the RBP Project.

The Piazza Flying Frisbee dog show is best experienced live!

“If they haven’t seen it, they may have heard about it from someone who has over the years. They would expect an engaging, fun, interactive time along with lessons on how the dogs are trained,” Stevens said.

Owner, trainer and dog-lover Mike Piazza is “fantastic with the crowd and the children. He engages the children in show. He is the top favorite entertainer in our series!” added Stevens.

He will utilize the entire length of the field behind the gazebo to give his dogs the running room they need to perform their acrobatic tricks.

Piazza is a multiple time world finalist and world record holder in the sport of K-9 Frisbee and the current No. 1 Professional K-9 Frisbee performer in the world, according to his website. Over the past 20 years, he and his various dogs have performed more than 150 shows per year.

They’ve been featured performers for the NFL, NBA, MLS, Minor League Baseball, ESPN, Animal Planet, NESN, college halftime sporting events and fairs, and have been on TV commercials and magazine covers.

“What sets the Flying High Dogs show apart from other acts is our heavy volume of audience participation. We perform with some of the most athletic border collies on the planet to entertain audiences of all ages,” Piazza states.

He’ll bring four pups, which he describes as follows: Chaos is a 6-year-old border collie. He amazes the crowds as he is the fastest border collie ever clocked at 35 mph.

Maui is a 9-year-old border collie and the alpha male of the team. He performs the most spectacular back flips and assorted tricks.

Mojo is a 3-year-old border collie and the newest member of the team. He is an amazing trick dog who can perform over 30 different tricks.

Bullet is a 12-year-old border collie. She was once the highest jumping border collie on the planet until eye surgery that left her 90 percent blind. She still loves to greet people and opens up each show.

The $3 per carload gate fee has been waived once again, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Classified Realty Group. The grills will be fired up with a la carte fare… and of course there will be cool treats like watermelon… and ice cream! Leave the bitcoins at home this time around folks, because cash is king at the checkout table. Remember, the funds raised are returned to the park for upkeep and improvements!

High school volunteers needed

The Summer Concerts and BBQs also provide an opportunity for NRHS students to earn some of their required community service hours. Stevens encourages them to sign up for the limited openings at Volunteers generally help with set-up, break down, clean up and sales.

So grab your lawn chair, blanket and picnic supper and enjoy the shows.