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Dancing the sunset away

Posted: July 31, 2010 8:41 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Jed Blaugrund twirls his 7-year-old daughter, Riley, as his wife, Daryl, dances with their 4-year-old son, Bryce, in the background during Friday’s Summer Sunset Concert Series on Friday at Valencia Marketplace in Stevenson Ranch.

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Jed Blaugrund spun his dance partner around as vocalist Rick Michael, sitting just a few feet away, sang “It had to be you” into his microphone.

Riley Blaugrund did not stop smiling as she was thrown into twirls and dips.

“Perfect and elegant,” Jed Blaugrund said of his dance partner and 7-year-old daughter, Riley.

To their right, Riley’s mother, Daryl Blaugrund, swayed to and fro with her 4-year-old son, Bryce.

For the last five years, the summer concerts hosted in the Valencia Marketplace have provided a delightful venue for dancing and quality family time for the Blaugrunds, of Stevenson Ranch.

“It’s just fun to spend time together as a family, affordably,” Jed Blaugrund said.

The Summer Sunset Concert Series, a group of free shows, brought Los Angeles based-group the Rick Michael Quartet to the amphitheater behind Starbucks Coffee and Jamba Juice off of the Old Road on Friday night.

As sunlight faded in Stevenson Ranch, more and more residents set their lawn chairs and blankets around the outdoor stage and engaged in covers of classics from Frank Sinatra or Billy Joel.

“We’re doing a lot of nostalgia — songs that people may have danced to at the prom,” said Rick Michael, 52, a musician and vocalist in the quartet.

Michael was joined by flutist and saxophonist Mike Mays, drummer Darrell Morgan and bass player Louie Spears.

Locals of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, used the concrete platform as a dance arena. Some stepped lightly, others put ballroom steps to practice and a few even attempted back flips.

“It’s a wonderful venue here,” said Michael, who typically plays at The Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza for an over-21 crowd. “I wish more shopping centers did this,” he added.

Don and Donna Deicken perched themselves in the front row. The former Las Vegas residents who recently moved to the area said they appreciated quality live entertainment.

While the Santa Clarita Valley is no Vegas to the Valencia couple, they were pleased to find a free venue with a live band.

“For the size of the community, I think they do a great job of bringing entertainment and activities (here),” Donna Deicken said.

The Friday night events are also a boost for the surrounding businesses. Starbucks cups, Jamba Juice mugs and Subway wrappers filled cupholders and blankets.

Jed Blaugrund said his family always has dinner and dessert in the area, and they’ve attended just about every concert in the past five years.

The relaxed, community vibe makes for an easy family evening out, and the daddy-daughter dancing is just another plus for Riley.

“He’s crazy,” Riley said of her dad’s dance moves. “I like the dipping because I always like to fall over.”

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