In a genuine example of small-town community spirit, the weekly Lilac Park concerts showcasing Berkshire bands and singers now are being held Wednesday evenings at a fully outfitted pavilion in downtown Lenox.
The Gazebo, as it’s called, is a gift from the Lagarce family, which has deep roots in town going back five generations, to the early 20th century. The family came up with the idea for a proper stage with power and low-intensity lighting for the free Concerts in the Park series, which features the Berkshire Jazz Ensemble at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The series continues through Aug. 25.
“At a Lagarce family gathering back in early 2019, the topic of our hometown, Lenox, came up in conversation,” said Michelle Lagarce Bowman, the youngest among the seven siblings of parents George and Anne Lagarce.
“Most of that discussion focused on how lucky we all were to grow up in such a great town. We talked about our family heritage in Lenox going back over 100 years.”
Public service has been the family’s calling card — George Lagarce was on the Select Board for 16 years starting in the 1980s, and his son, Gary, spent his entire career as a Lenox Police officer. Ken Lagarce remains a lifelong resident, and family matriarch Anne, 96, still lives on Walker Street.
“We have nothing but great memories of Lenox, and although most of us moved away to different parts of the country after college, we all still consider Lenox home,” Michelle said.
The seven siblings and their spouses decided to approach the town for some ideas to create a thank-you gift, said Jeff Lagarce, a Boston resident. “My brother Ken and I got together with Ed Lane, a longtime friend and selectman, Ken Fowler [organizer of the Concerts in the Park] and Billy Gop, the DPW superintendent.”
The result: A gazebo in Lilac Park to host band concerts in the summer, other events, or just a place to relax and read a book.
The $35,000 gift to fund the project was presented to the Select Board in September 2019 and swiftly approved. Then, the LB Corp. and Tommy Garrity handled the foundation and site work on a downward slope in a natural amphitheater setting. Pignatelli Electric installed power and low-key lighting.
The project was finished by late fall last year, and the 14-foot-by-24-foot Gazebo hosted its first concert this past June.
Lenox resident Ken Lagarce, noting that his great-grandparents had emigrated from France to Lenox, pointed out that bands no longer have to run extension cords for the concerts, making life easier for everyone and encouraging more local events in the park.
The rustic, colonial look of the pavilion fits in with the Church on the Hill parish house and the town’s Community Garden, he noted. “This will be something permanent and aesthetically appealing, which will be nice for everybody.”
“The way we look at it is that it’s nothing more than a gift from our family to the town, in thanks for all the great memories we have of growing up there,” Jeff Lagarce said. “We hope it gets a lot of use in the years to come. It was our way to give back to a town that has given us so much. As the plaque simply says, ‘For All To Enjoy.’ ”