Peter Aucella

Lowell Summer Music Series Programming Director.

Peter Aucella is the founder of the popular Lowell Summer Music Series, and he has led its development to the present day, its 20th Season. Peter has worked tirelessly to make the city of Lowell a better place to live and a destination city for visitors.

In Lowell, Peter has served as Director for the City’s Division of Planning and Development, Executive Director of a federal agency known as the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, and he is currently Assistant Superintendent for Development and Special Projects at the Lowell National Historical Park.  He is currently involved in development of canal walkways, the restoration of an historic railroad depot, expansion of the Park’s vintage trolley system, and working with the City and private developers on the rehabilitation and reuse of historic commercial, residential and industrial buildings.

He has held positions at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Bureau of Transportation Planning and Development and was the Community Development Coordinator for two mayors of the City of Malden, Massachusetts.  He served as Director of Economic Development on the staff of former United States Senator Paul Tsongas, and later as Manager of the Senator’s Massachusetts Office.

Under an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement between the National Park and the City of Lowell, he also spent five years (1995-2000) as Executive Director of the City’s Arena and Civic Stadium Commission supervising over $75 million in construction projects, including the 6,500-seat Tsongas Arena, the 5,000-capacity LeLacheur Park baseball stadium, a Riverwalk and Canalway, all located within the Lowell Historic District

Having been involved in some 300 of the 400 preservation projects in Lowell’s Historic District over the past 25 years, he is currently focused on approximately a redevelopment program involving five mill complexes and many historic commercial and residential buildings.

In 1989, he was in charge of construction of Boarding House Park, a performing arts amphitheater in a former mill parking lot.  The project won a Federal Design Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Each year, Lowell Summer Music Series concerts are held in Boarding House Park in downtown Lowell.

Interview

Lowell.com: Do you have any recommendations for first time visitors to the Lowell Summer Music Series?

Peter Aucella: Boarding House Park is open all day for visitors to the Lowell National Historical Park exhibits on either side of it. That means that you can claim a spot in the venue early on show days. Food and drinks are priced much lower than usual concert fare and include wraps, salads and organic snacks as well as pizza, sausage and meatball subs, hot dogs, ice cream and other fun foods, but you are still allowed to bring in picnics, but no alcohol.

Lowell.com: Who has been your favorite performer so far, and what upcoming concert are you most excited about?

Peter Aucella: Los Lonely Boys and Michael Franti & Spearhead performed high energy shows that wowed their audiences, which is always fun. The big event of the summer was presenting Joan Baez on her 50th Anniversary Tour, with NBC News on site to film it for The Today Show and NBC Nightly News on August 15th.

I’m looking forward to the August 14th show by Jakob Dylan & the Wallflowers, but also some of our returning performers who have always attracted great crowds in the past – Celtic fiddle sensation Eileen Ivers, folksingers Livingston Taylor and Tom Rush, and blues guys Ronnie Earl and Hot Tuna.

Lowell.com: What do you like to do before and after each concert?

Peter Aucella: Now and again, I get away from the venue to enjoy a pre-show dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants in downtown Lowell, usually with some of our sponsors who will be attending the show with me that night. My favorite after-show locations to wind down are The Blue Taleh, an asian restaurant on East Merrimack Street or Caffe Paradiso, an Italian cafe for coffee or drinks.

Lowell.com: How many volunteers do you have, and what do you need volunteers to do?

Peter Aucella: We have about 30 volunteers on top of our regular staff and a number of college work-study students, most of whom are from music business or sound technology programs. The Volunteers help at our Food Concessions Tent, Merchandise Concessions, or Security. We have a great group and they work well together.

Lowell.com: What makes this Series unique to Lowell?

Peter Aucella: There is no better place to see live music than under the stars in a beautiful tree-lined park surrounded by historic textile mills. We won a Federal Design Award from the National Endowment for the Arts for Boarding House Park and its stage pavilion. The sound is fabulous and the atmosphere wonderful. The park is intimate – only one acre in size. A great place to see your favorite performer and enjoy our all-too-brief New England summer!

Lowell.com: Thanks, Peter! We will do what we can to support the fun, family events in Lowell, and we encourage everyone to check out Lowell Summer Music Series website.