PT and The Cruisers headline next Fox Park concert

Submitted photoPT and The Cruisers returns to rock Arts in the Park on Thursday. 

La PORTE — PT and The Cruisers will roll back into Fox Park on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The group has been around for about a dozen years, materializing from the gospel group, Born Again Blues Band. Members are Paul Thode on bass guitar and lead vocals; Rex Schmaltz on acoustic, electric, and slide guitars, plus harmonica and lead vocals; Jeff Gust on drums / percussion / harmony vocals; and Dave Lee on tenor and alto saxophones, flute, and harmony vocals.

Thode and Lee are well known for spending decades with the Elwood Splinters Blues Band.

Schmaltz is known around town as "Pinetop Perkins’ local Harp Player" and Gust as the drummer for the Bare Facts band.

PT and The Cruisers play a wide variety of music including blues, oldies, classic rock, country and gospel. The band is very popular with mature audiences, and is a favorite at American Legions, Elks Clubs, PRCU Clubs, Falcons and restaurants that offer entertainment. It also performs at festivals and private parties. For more information, check out their schedule at

Also on Thursday, pre-concert entertainment begins at 6 p.m. featuring Go Arial Fitness Yoga. Gracie Kollar will sing The National Anthem, and poetry reader for the evening is Greg Coulter, Community Engagement Librarian for the La Porte County Library. This concert is sponsored by Friends of the La Porte County Public Library.

On Wednesday, poetry prior to the City Band concert will be read by Dr. Scott Simerlein, La Porte County Poet Laureate. The evening will highlight James Swearingen’s rendition of With Malice Toward None, narrated by Mayor Mark Krentz. In addition, Mackenzie West will guest conduct Eric Osterling’s Bandology. West is a La Porte High School grad entering her senior year at Marion College in music education. She is a saxophonist with the band.

On both Wednesday and Thursday, children are encouraged to participate in KidsArt in the east hillside shelter with Roseann Phillips and Dan Carpenter. Pre-registration for these fun, free activities is requested by signing up at

Adults may register now for the July 24 Park and Canvas event, beginning at 6 p.m. with talented local artist Dori Huber. Cost is $10 per participant. Huber holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Ohio State University and a Master of Education from Purdue University Northwest. She taught art in the South Central district for decades and continues to instruct students at PNW and the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

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