John McCutcheon learned about the legend of the Lady in the Lake in 1995, the first time he performed a concert at White Rock. The folk singer was enchanted by the story of a young woman who died in the lake and is rumored to be seen on the water from time to time. During intermission, he scribbled down these words:

“Let’s go down to the Lake tonight/ I got my Daddy’s car and it’s Saturday/ If the moon is out and the wind is right/ We could sail on Sunset Bay/ From Winfrey Point to Lawther Drive/ The old ones swear she’s still alive.”

These lyrics from the song “Walk on Water” can be heard on McCutcheon’s 2002 album, “The Greatest Story Never Told.” That first concert has turned into an almost annual tradition, with non-profit organization For the Love of the Lake regularly inviting the multiple Grammy nominee back to perform.

The concert has continued to provide McCutcheon with fodder for his music. In 2003, the concert honored members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, men who provided infrastructure for the lake and many other parks across the nation in the ’30s. McCutcheon was inspired by one of the members who returned for the benefit and wrote “Boys in Green” that day.

“This guy’s very good and accomplished,” says concert coordinator Bill Williams. “He writes wonderful songs about children and growing up. We’re almost always sold out.”

When McCutcheon returns to White Rock Sept. 29, it will be the seventh time For the Love of the Lake has sponsored the concert in its 11-year existence.

“The concert is our signature event,” says FTLOTL founder Marci Novak. “Every time we do it, we choose a specific project to give the money to.”

When the group last held the concert two years ago, members raised $144,000 for The Celebration Tree Grove project and reforestation. This year’s money will be used to replace the hike and bike trails on East Lawther between Poppy Drive and Dixon Branch, which run past The Celebration Tree Grove. This particular section of the trail is especially rough and broken up – Novak describes it as “caddy whompus.” She decided it was something FTLOTL members could take into their own hands.

“We’re an immediate gratification group,” she says. “We like to do projects we can do immediately. People can contribute and then actually get to run or walk or rollerblade on the trail.”

FTLOTL President Steve Tompkins says he hopes people will notice the improvement.

“Almost every user group uses that trail,” he says. “This project will hopefully generate interest from other groups to do the same.”


WHEN/Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.

WHERE/ Rosine Hall in the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland

TICKETS/ $50, includes food and drinks; must be purchased in advance