Cultural Events

Panacea To Host Labor Day Weekend Reunion Show

Published: August 09, 2018 at 12:00 am


It's one more time for the Panacea & Friends Reunion Dance.


Local 70s rock band Panacea will host their third Labor Day weekend town reunion at Dickinson Memorial Park on Sunday, September 2. The show will go on rain or shine.



Admission is free and all are welcome. Guests should bring their own chairs or blankets for seating, and picnics or refreshments.



The band is asking those planning to attend to also bring with a donation for Newtown's FAITH Pantry: nonperishable food, dog food, cleaning supplies, etc.



Panacea's members will again be coming in from around the country to host this event, giving residents a chance to reconnect with old friends. A popular band in the 70s, Panacea - Corky Ballard, Leslie Ballard, Rick Kuhn, Jon Dodson - played countless clubs, proms, and dances, and won the statewide Battle of the Bands in 1971, playing all original music written by Corky and Rick.



After going separate ways in their musical careers, they reunited after decades apart when asked to close out the 2013 Great Newtown Reunion at Fairfield Hills.



The experience was so moving, the group decided to hold its own reunion the following year, recapturing magical summer nights in the pavilion at the town park's weekly dances in the 70s. In a letter to the editor following the 2014 performance, which was dampened by rain but successful nevertheless, Leslie Ballard was thrilled with the turnout and thankful for the help and support she and her bandmates received.



The band again reunited two years ago, returning once more to the pavilion for another enthusiastic crowd at Dickinson Park.



As in past years, it will be another all-Newtown musical lineup on September 2. Songwriter and guitarist Manny Pavone will kick off the show at 4 pm, followed by the popular Willie-Portera Trio (Tod Willie, Jay Willie, and Tom Portera).



Panacea will take the stage at 6, playing 60s and 70s hits until the sun goes down.



In addition to the original members, residents Bruce Tibbitts on guitar, Matt Spencer on percussion, and Chris Martirano on keyboards are also planning to join Panacea during its set.



"Panacea hasn't been a band for over 40 years and we don't intend to be one ever again," said Ms Ballard. "So we call this event Panacea Reunion, but we're actually referring to a reunion for Newtown that Panacea is hosting."



The headliners will be paying for insurance and other fees, as well as travel expenses for members driving or flying into town. Opening sets by Manny Pavone and The Willie-Portera Trio will also be done without compensation for the performers, Ms Ballard added. Everyone, she said, is looking forward to a fun event.



"Bring your dancing shoes," she added.



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