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Free concert series rocks downtown Ann Arbor for 17th season

Sonic Lunch summer concert series returns to Ann Arbor
Sonic Lunch summer concert series returns to Ann Arbor 02:09

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Every Thursday in the summertime, people pack Liberty Plaza to enjoy the free concert series Sonic Lunch. 

Presented by Bank of Ann Arbor, it's a summer tradition that's marking its 17th year in the city. 

The organizers said the event aims to bring locals together to enjoy community and great music. 

"Sonic Lunch builds community and music brings people together, and Bank of Ann Arbor sees a vision of bringing great people in the community together to celebrate life, work, have fun," said Bank of Ann Arbor's social and events manager, Matthew Altruda. "The whole city gets to take a lunch break with us; enjoy living in Ann Arbor. And that's really what it's all about." 

Well before the show begins, crowds start to gather, including longtime showgoers. 

"I think I've missed maybe eight shows in the like dozen years this has been going on," said Thomas Siterlet. 

The concert series showcases both local and national artists. 

"We try to have a very diverse lineup of locals and legends," said Altruda. "We have Laith Al-Saadi today, but next week we have Allan Stone, and we have Madison Cunningham, who recently won a Grammy for Best Female Folk Artist." 

Native Ann Arborite Laith Al-Saadi has been performing at Sonic Lunch every year since it began. 

"This is my 17th Sonic Lunch," he said. "I believe I'm the only artist who's been playing this since its inception." 

Al-Saadi was a finalist on season 10 of "The Voice," but he said his hometown is his favorite place to perform. 

"(People ask me) why didn't I go to Nashville or LA or New York City?" he said. "And the thing is, because we have a beautiful, rich musical history here and I want to contribute to try to maintain the level of quality that we have here. I love Ann Arbor. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else." 

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