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Saturday concert honors the Cape’s 50th

By Staff | Jan 29, 2020

CJ?HADDAD Southwest Florida native and country breakout artist Sheena Brook performing at Jammin' In Cultural Park on Saturday afternoon. 

A beautiful Southwest Florida day, great music, great food and history were enjoyed Saturday afternoon at the Cape Coral Historical Museum & Society, as droves of residents came out to attend Jammin’ In Cultural Park, a free event that featured talented local artists.

Attendees were in abundance with their lawn chairs, enjoying a cool day and even cooler jams from the talented lineup of acts. The museum was also buzzing with not just history, but people taking free tours, exploring all the historical facility has to offer when it comes to 50 years of Cape Coral.

The day was headlined by Southwest Florida’s own Sheena Brook, a gifted country singer who made waves on NBC’s “The Voice.”

Brook has not forgotten her roots, as she lives on Fort Myers Beach, traveling between Southwest Florida and Nashville where she is collaborating with some of the industry’s best writers and talents.

“It’s awesome,” Brook said of being able to perform as part of Cape Coral’s 50th anniversary events. “Our town is amazing, wherever your pocket is in Lee County — from Cape Coral to Fort Myers Beach — and I get to go all around Southwest Florida to play. I was really excited when they called me.”

CJ?HADDAD Signal III performs at Jammin' In Cultural Park. From left, bassist John Howes, guitarist Chad Hartzell, lead vocalist Walt Herman and (back) drummer Mik Jahaaski. 

Brook, once a Mariner High School student, said the warmth and beauty of the Sunshine State is what kept her coming back for more. That and the melting pot of people that now call Florida home.

“I came home because I just love this place,” Brook said. “I love the weather and the people. It’s just a special place with a big giant mush of types of people, which I think is what makes Florida unique and special — especially Southwest Florida.”

Brook, with her smooth tones and (mostly) upbeat selections, had the crowd tapping their toes and clapping in rhythm during her set. She even got to play with some former bandmates.

Brook said the reception she gets throughout the area is one that fills her with pride.

“This is my home, you know, so it’s been amazing,” Brook said of playing shows locally. “I’ve seen more and more support through the years, especially as I’ve grown into doing what I want (musically), doing what’s me and representing myself really honestly. Since then, I think I’ve gotten so much support my community. I love it. It’s amazing.”

For Brook, Cape Coral has always been a place she’s enjoying either visiting or living. She said she’s seen a lot of change over the years, something she sees as a positive.

“Cape Coral is cool,” Brook said. “It’s just a mix a people. Lots of different types of people. I like a mix of individuals and Cape Coral represents that really well.”

Prior to Brook headlining, local acts Soulixer and Signal III entertained those in attendance with a mostly rock and classic rock feel.

Signal III, made up of Cape Coral Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office personnel, was popular with the crowd, playing classic hit after hit.

The band is comprised of LCSO officer Tom Eberhardt on the guitar and keyboard and CCPD officers Chad Hartzell, guitar; Walt Herman, lead vocals; John Howes, bass; Mik Jahaaski, drums and Steve Barnes, retired CCPD officer, on guitar.

“We’re glad to be out here for the celebration today,” Eberhardt said. “It was a great time. It’s an honor to be able to play here today. We’re very thankful to the city.”

Barnes agreed.

“It was really nice to be asked to be a part of this,” Barnes said. “”Most of us grew up most of our lives here.”

All of Signal III said they love living in the Southwest Florida area.

“It’s paradise,” Hartzell said.

While the bands were handling the entertainment outside, many residents took to the historical museum to learn about a city that is celebrating its golden anniversary throughout 2020.

“The museum is packed and everyone is enjoying learning all about our city,” said Gloria Tate, museum & society president.

Attendees could be seen wearing 50th anniversary T-shirts, enjoying food and beverages from vendors and enjoying an immaculate Southwest Florida afternoon.

“We love seeing our residents enjoying this free event and learning about the history of Cape Coral,” Tate said.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj