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VIDEO: Jodi Mealey kicks off 2016 Heritage Hillside Series

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Jodi Mealey in performance at Wednesday night's opening show of the Heritage Hillside Series in New Richmond. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)2 / 7
Jodi Mealey, Jason McLean on bass and Matt Mealey on Trumpet during Wednesday's performance at the Hillside Series in New Richmond. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)3 / 7
Jodi Mealey. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)4 / 7
Part of the crowd at Wednesday night's opening act of the Heritage Hillside Series in New Richmond. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)5 / 7
Carol De Young (right) of Countryside Plumbing and Heating helps distribute freshly-baked cookies to those who attended the Heritage Hillside Series in New Richmond Wednesday night. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)6 / 7
Erv and Mary Sather enjoy Wednesday night's performance at the Heritage Hillside Series. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)7 / 7

The Heritage Hillside Series at the Heritage Center in New Richmond got off to a immensely successful start Wednesday, July 6, when Jodi Mealey and her band provided the entertainment from the gazebo while hundreds sat on blankets and chairs along the top of the hill.

Some of the children and their parents found fun in the sunshine as they moved from building stoop to building stoop and rollicked in the grassy areas. For most who attended, It was their first task to pull up a piece of shade, snag a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie (or two) that were provided by sponsor Countryside Plumbing and Heating, and to sit back and relish the early evening summer that comes with the first week of July.

And the music - the reason that drew so many to one spot in New Richmond -- was soothing, melodic and beautiful.

Mealey and her bandmates, including husband Matt on trumpet, Jason McLean on bass and Bernie Wollenberg on guitar, moved seamlessly from jazz standards to popular hits.

A music teacher at Paperjack Elementary School and band lesson teacher at the middle school in New Richmond, Jodi also provides private piano and voice lessons from her home. And if that's not enough, she also choreographs the New Richmond High School musicals.

Her background in performance has provided her a rich background in the music arena. She is an award-winning vocalist and active contract musician. She has had leading roles in operas, musicals and plays and has also spent time as a featured singer and dancer on the SS Independence cruise ship that tours the Hawaiian Islands.

Jodi Mealey, bassist Jason McLean and trumpeter Matt Mealey. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)Husband Matt is also deeply entrenched in music, working his day job as director of bands at New Richmond High School.

In addition to the music, those attending the first of the series enjoyed the cookies prepared by Countryside and children's art projects provided by Messes & Masterpieces.

The series continues Wednesday, July 13, with a performance by LeRoy Larson, 6:30-8 p.m. 

For more information about the series, call the Heritage Center at 715-246-3276.