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Opinion

PorchRokr embraced in Highland Square

6/27/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Last October the Highland Square Neighborhood Association’s Art in the Square steering committee came up with this wacky notion to throw a fundraiser for our annual summer art and music festival held in late August. The concept was to put about 30 bands and musical groups (assuming we could even get them to perform for free) on about 15 porches in a small area of Highland Square.

In late February, four of us bundled up one Sunday afternoon and spent three hours walking up and down the streets in a 10-block section of Highland Square, noting the addresses of our neighbors with porches we liked. By mid-March or so, we somehow had 45 bands that were wanting to join us. With a collective hard swallow, we set out knocking on doors to explain our unique concept to our unsuspecting neighbors. For the most part, we were greeted with a bemused “You want me to do WHAAAAAT??”

Within two more weeks we had 60 bands and counting, all asking to play, so we headed out for a second visit with our neighbors. This time the response was somewhat different. It seems our neighbors had been talking to each other. “Yes, of course we want a couple bands on our porch! Do you have any country bands? Oh, and please talk to the guy at 175 because he has his own band and wants to be part of this.”

I honestly don’t know another way to put it other than we were simply dumbfounded by the willingness of people we hardly knew to trust us enough to open their porches, their yards and their hearts to all of us and our improbable idea. It was a truly humbling experience for all of us. But, best of all, those people we hardly knew? We know them now.

I think more than anything else, the resulting event and goodwill that we saw at this inaugural PorchRokr (Oh yes, there will be more!) is the embodiment of what it is like to live here. Thank you, Highland Square, for reminding us, and giving our guests a glimpse into, what it is like to live in one of the most wonderful places on earth.

Mark Smith, secretary, Highland Square Neighborhood Association

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