Lisa Haley is an Idyllwild favorite. File photo
Lisa Haley is an Idyllwild favorite. File photo

Ken Dahleen’s Idyllwild Summer Concert Series arrives with heat at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2. The diminutive Lisa Haley bows the first electric notes on her blue violin, lightning flashes, humidity intensifies and zydecosis spreads throughout the crowd. Zydecosis is a highly contagious condition prompted by Haley and her Zydekats’ foot-stompin’ joyous Cajun music. Symptoms (which cease only with the last note of the evening) include irresistible urges to dance, shout, stomp and twirl. Haley and her Zydekats are a sizzling start for what Dahleen has lined up for this extraordinarily popular summer series intended as a free and celebratory event for locals.

“It’s going to be a great series,” said Dahleen of year 16, which includes two big bands, three new groups and returning favorites. “We do the best we can in putting the series together and it’s the listeners who will make the final judgment.” As is the case each year, Dahleen and the ISCS board start the season with a fraction of the budget on hand needed to produce the series. Generous support from local businesses and concert attendees has provided full budget by the end of the year. Last year, money taken in exceeded the budget and will be used as seed money for this season.

All concerts are on Thursdays. There will be opening acts, starting as early as 6 p.m., for all concerts other than the two big bands. All headliners begin at 7.

Following Lisa Haley, on July 9, is the easy-listening music of the Lou Matthews Quintet. Matthews was Nancy Wilson’s music director and he is bringing his longtime players.

On July 16, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, with Nancy Knorr of the Pied Pipers as vocalist, takes the stage, recreating the big band era of the 1940s, one of the greatest times in American popular music.

On July 23, dust off your cowboy boots and get ready to Texas Two Step when the Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers start mixing it up.

On July 30, Grupo Bohemio returns with the music of Santana.

On Aug. 6, at 7 with no opening act, Ken Dahleen and his Big Band Staff present an all Stan Kenton concert.

On Aug. 13, The New City Beat makes its Idyllwild debut — NCB is a reconfigured rock and roll and blues band, with blazing horns. NCB is an integration of two previous bands — City Beat and the United Blues Band.

And finally, on Aug. 20, Harold Wherry’s Blue Breeze Band sends up some solid Motown.

Dancers get ready. It’s all coming your way. Stake out your seats and throw off any timidity — appreciate, applaud, dance and be delighted.

To support the series, send checks to the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, P.O. Box 1542, Idyllwild, CA. 92549. The website ( is being updated and should be ready soon.