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July Fourth

No. 4 will be a blast for Janet's Planet

Band's fourth Independence Day show in Clintonville pumps crowd up for fireworks

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Janet's Planet rehearses June 19 for its performance during Clintonville's Fourth of July celebration. Band members are (from left): Denny Aurand, Bob Miller, Chris White, Janet Cesner and Charly Cesner.
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It will be the fourth Fourth for Janet's Planet.

The five-member band, which performs "electric, eclectic rhythm and rock," according to its website, once again will headline this year's Clintonville Fourth of July Celebration at Whetstone Park.

Janet and Charly Cesner of Clintonville, lead guitarist Denny Aurand of Gahanna, bass player Bob Miller of Hilliard and drummer Chris White of the Polaris area are scheduled to perform from 8 to 10 p.m., leading up to the fireworks show.

Janet's Planet, with a shifting cast of bandmates, has been part of the local music scene for more than 25 years.

Being invited back to the Clintonville July Fourth event a second time, let alone a third and now a fourth, is gratifying, said Janet Cesner, who provides lead vocals and percussion for the group. She said the band volunteered to perform at a fundraiser in the backyard of Clintonville Fourth of July Celebration Inc. Board President G. Scott Smith and wound up being asked to perform at the event itself.

"We were thrilled, and we're thrilled to be asked back," Cesner said. "It's a family event so family and friends from Clintonville and the city can come."

"We think it's great," said Aurand, who joined with the Cesners to form what originally was a trio.

"When you get invited back to anyplace, whether it's the Fourth of July or a club, that says you've done a good job and they appreciate your music," said Miller, who has known and played with Charly Cesner dating back to the 1970s. "I'm just all about performing and being out there and having a good time. The biggest reward for any musician is not necessarily the money; it's when someone comes up after the show and says, "I really liked that song,' or, 'Man, you played the heck out of that thing.' That really means something."

"That kind of thing, gosh, that's everybody's favorite kind of gig -- a big outdoor show," said White, Janet's Planet drummer on and off for the past seven or eight years. "It's wonderful. I love it. It's just big fun on a family kind of night."

"I love it," added Charly Cesner, who plays rhythm guitar and keyboards.

The trio that would become Janet's Planet first began playing at the old Slapsy Maxie's Neighborhood Pub at the Continent, Janet Cesner said. A former drummer came up with the name when he joined the group.

"Our music is pretty eclectic," she said. "It's hard to describe. We play kind of rock-'n'-roll basically, but kind of bluesy, folkie. It's pretty collaborative.

"When we put a spin on a song, we say we 'planetize' it."

"I wouldn't go so far as to say we hit the Lady Gaga crowd," her husband added. "If someone asks for Proud Mary, that's what we're there for. We try to nail as many people with one song as we can. We play what we think the crowd wants to hear."

"We all know each other and like each other," Aurand said. "We play well together. It's a good fit."

"I think first and foremost we're friends," Miller said. "We just all have similar personalities."

"I think it's because we're all pretty much at the same place in our lives," White said. "We're getting close to or already have taken on retirement. We all have played all our lives. We like to practice, just get together and play, as we do a gig, almost."

Next week's performance at Whetstone Park, Janet Cesner said, will include some old favorites, but she and the others have been rehearsing a few new tunes.

"Hopefully, it will be a welcome change," she said.

The Clintonville Fourth of July celebration will feature events and activities for all ages from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. next Thursday, July 4, at the park.

The 61st edition of the July 4 celebration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the traditional community breakfast, along with a 5K run that was inaugurated in 2012.

The cost to participate is $30 in advance, $35 the day of the race. Participants will receive a T-shirt and a $5 voucher toward the community breakfast.

Other events that day include a pet show, all-star youth baseball game, fishing derby with catfish and bluegill in the park's pond, and entertainment from 5 to 7 p.m. by the Songbirds before Janet's Planet takes the stage.

Fireworks are set to begin around 10 p.m.

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