Music in the Garden

Summer Concert Series
Presented by EMC Insurance Companies

Check out our 2021 lineup!

Schedule and Details

June 17

Dustin Smith
From deep in the heart of the country arrives the beguiling sounds of D. Smith. Crafting rich songs that reflect the lives and landscapes of middle America, Smith captures listeners with his warm vocals and expressive delivery. D. Smith’s inviting debut album “Cabin Fever” (2019) distills these strengths and showcases the best of his vivid songwriting.

June 24

Stu Ryan O’Brien Band
Fun Music and Entertainment based in Des Moines, Iowa. Stuart Walker as Stu Ryan O’Brien and his band play and sing traditional and new Irish music. There’s always a wee bit of clappin’, sing along and lots of laughs too! Stu will appear as a band with Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Accordion and Percussion or as a single with Stu singing and playing the guitar. Whether it’s for a pub, a private party, senior center, Celtic wedding or Irish wake Stu and the band will please all.

July 1

The NOLA Jazz Band started playing regularly in March 2015. In only a few short years their “gutsy and heartfelt” New Orleans Jazz stylings has earned them a nationwide fan base. Band members also include Iowa Music Hall of Famers (Jazz AND Rock & Roll). This 5 generation, 8 member group led by clarinetist Jeff Kane has played with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the New Orleans, Hot Jazz, and NYC Traditional Jazz scenes

July 8

Cedar County Cobras
Cedar County Cobras play American roots and blues music from the last century. The music takes on an “old time” blues feel that would most likely be found in a juke-joint down a gravel road in rural Iowa. All members of the project are multi-instrumentalists and play a number of different instruments during each live performance. The music has been described as contagious, acoustic rockabilly, dancing bluegrass, or old-time country with the gritty sound of soulful blues. It is almost impossible to box the sound of the Cobras into one musical genre when you hear an eclectic mix of acoustic blues and gypsy mandolin tunes that can only be heard in the Cobra songs.

July 15

Jake Simon
Jake Simon has always been moved by music in a way that most people aren’t. He’s into the songwriting aspect of music. He played sports growing up and when he realized that that part of his life was over, he gravitated towards music. His biggest influences are Kip Moore, and Dierks Bentley.

July 22 

Courtney Krause
Courtney Krause’s thought-provoking style of writing not only encompasses the longing heart of a singer/songwriter, but also speaks to the varieties of circumstances faced in relationships, communication, and honesty. Taking a captivating approach to Americana, her music is modernizing classic country, folk, and sultry soul in songs where both sides of the story are told. 

July 29

Dickie’s 2015 self-titled release was a moody testimonial of singer-songwriter Dick Prall. Prall took a succession of personal losses and nestled them inside a beautifully layered soundtrack that found Dickie on the top of several “Best of” lists that year. 2019 found Prall in a nostalgic headspace, partnering with talented drummer/multi-instrumentalist Billy Barton to produce a stripped-back mix of reflective and pulsating sing-alongs in the latest release, Minus Thieves.

August 5

Bruce & Parks
After years of independently hawking their original songs at venues across the country, Josh Parks Davis and Adam Bruce Bartelt were looking for a new gig a little closer to home. Thinking they could make a quick buck playing at loud bars to disinterested crowds, the two joined forces as Bruce & Parks, bringing their irreverent brand of country-country to the masses. What started as thankless cover gigs (only accepting requests scrawled across a $20 bill…) quickly developed into a full-fledged creative enterprise of more thankless cover gigs that paid better. Now working on their debut album, Bruce & Parks are still making the rounds at those loud bars. Come on out to see them (and don’t forget those greenbacks).

August 12

Kevin Burt
For nearly 3 decades, Kevin Burt, Iowa Blues Hall of Fame member (class of 2019), has been mesmerizing audiences with his powerfully smooth and soulful vocals. Paired with his unique harmonica and guitar presentation along with his quick wit, Burt engages with his audience touching their souls while tickling their funny bones.

August 19

Tony Valdez
Self-taught on the guitar, Tony has been an integral part of the central Iowa music scene since the mid-1960’s. It all began with The Echo’s Five: “We played at popular places like The Clique, The Place, The Mousetrap, The Val Air Ballroom, the original Roof Garden Ballroom at Lake Okoboji and TeenTown at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.”

August 26

Sara Routh
Sara Routh is a Des Moines native who’s traveled around the world bringing her music to audiences across the globe. Her engaging spirit on stage draws the listener to pause, sit and emotionally experience each performance. Routh has won accolades for her songwriting since 2006 and continues to develop new sounds throughout her musical journey. A strong vocal talent, Routh’s ability to balance lyrics, sense of style and rhythm leaves her audiences wanting a return performance. She has been compared to as a mix of the incredible talents of Ella Fitzgerald and Joni Mitchell. Sara Routh is a musical force of nature who continues to embrace community and life, bringing each reality to song.

September 2

Parranderos Latin Combo
Parranderos Latin Combo (PLC) is a Latin music group based in Des Moines, IA. The group’s self-titled debut album includes nine original songs written in Iowa and recorded in San Juan, Puerto Rico by Grammy award winning engineers Ramon Martinez and Carlos Velazquez. This collaboration between the musicians from South America, The Caribbean and the Midwest, was funded in part by the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for The Arts. Exploring musical styles such as Salsa, Cumbia, Samba and more, Parranderos Latin Combo keeps Latin music alive and diverse in Iowa and beyond.

September 9

Gina Gedler
Gina likes to be creative with all of her music endeavors.  She is involved in various music affiliations from duos all the way up to big band music!  She has had the pleasure of working with many fine musicians.  She likes to keep things interesting with her eclectic choice of music!  She covers everything from Jazz Standards, Country, Showtunes, disco, Prohibition Jazz, 70’s and 80’s!  You just never know what to expect!  She is adaptable, professional, smooth, personable, and clean with her style. She has the ability to deliver songs with her own personal flare!

September 16

Jason Walsmith
Jason Walsmith is a founding member and principal singer/songwriter of the Iowa based band The Nadas. He has toured the country for 25 years playing shows from Key West to Seattle, San Diego to Maine as well the occasional shows internationally in places such as Mexico, Canada and even Beijing China. Walsmith is known for his storytelling and heartfelt portraits of people and places in song. His solo performances range from intimate introspective songs to stomp and clap burners that keep the audience engaged and wondering what comes next. He is at home in the corner of a small cafe in a dark alley or on the big stage in a festival setting as well as live broadcast opportunities. Walsmith is available as a solo performer, or with additional backing musicians up to a full band format.

September 23

Jager & the Polkameisters
Jager and the Polkameisters is Des Moines’ Polka Party Band.
Cheryl Cibula and Stuart Walker are the heart of the band. They are experienced musicians that have fun with any audience. Jager and the Polkameisters play all the great Oktoberfest tunes and other songs that you’d expect. Whether you’re raising a stein for an Oktoberfest toast, dancing the polka or just laughing along with The Chicken Dance this band is for everyone who likes to have fun!

September 30

Tony Bohnenkamp
Tony’s personal songwriting style draws inspiration from an assortment of musicians, “especially artists that fill the spectrum of sound to the brim.” He does this in his own way on Side 2 by quickly enticing the listener by weaving hook-laden melodies with commanding vocals that seep in and out of rocking arrangements. Tony has an appreciation for many different instruments, and likes to infuse his music with those not normally used in the rock/pop genre, which is apparent on the album when appearances are made by a banjo, dobro, pedal steel, sleigh bells, and even some auto-tune.


Member – free
Adult – $10
Senior – $9
Military – $9
Youth – $7
Children 3 and under – free

On-site events are included with regular admission.

Tickets for Music in the Garden will not be sold in advance, but will be available at the door. First come, first served.

Learn about sponsorship opportunities here.

Event Details

All concerts are scheduled from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will be held live and in person in the outdoor Koehn Garden. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and music typically begins around 6:30 p.m.

Music in the Garden attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding, outdoor seating or picnic blankets.

Trellis Café will be serving grilled items on the Koehn Garden area for guests to purchase.

Tickets are sold at the door and are first come, first served.

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Thank you to our 2021 presenting sponsor
EMC Insurance Companies

Email or call 515.323.6289 with any questions about sponsorships.