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Music week’s crescendo outstanding

Sun., June 14, 2009

I had major doubts Monday. I didn’t think the seventh annual Spokane Street Music Week could possibly live up to 2008, which collected a record $3,800 for the food bank.

Bum weather kept sidewalk traffic sparse during the Monday noon hour. We ended our cold, rainy stand with numb fingers and just $208 in our red buckets.

Things picked up as the weather improved.

I’ll say. This year’s street music take for Second Harvest is an astonishing $4,250.

But wait. There’s more.

Remember those autographed Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio photographs donated by Alan Brill? The items are now up for auction thanks to Cam and Carmen Marshall, who own the I Sold it On eBay store at 2525 E. 29th Ave.

Both photos were professionally matted by Craig Marshall (no relation) at Spokane Art Supply, 1303 N. Monroe St.

When the bidding ends we’ll have a new, improved total. I’ll keep you posted.

What a week. This year drew our first barbershop quartet as well as our first ensemble of performers who have Parkinson’s disease.

We also had our first big name.

Peter Rivera, former lead singer and drummer of Rare Earth, wowed a crowd near Main and Post by singing “Get Ready” and other hits.

Rivera recently moved to Spokane from Los Angeles. He’ll be playing with his band, “Celebrate with Peter Rivera,” which is directed by my own bandmate and buddy, Joe Brasch.

Speaking of firsts, Rivera’s appearance was broadcast over the Internet by Dave Cebert’s new company, iLinklive. Some 250 people (including 96 from England) logged on to watch the performance as it happened right here in Spokane.

How do you follow that?

Two words: Mary Verner.

The Spokane mayor appeared on the sidewalk near Starbucks on Friday and sang “Proud Mary.”

What a great sport. She even added a new lyric.

“And I never lost a minute of sleepin’ worrying about what Doug Clark has to say …”

Verner helped turn Friday into a record donations day: $1,665.63.

I know because my friends at Washington Trust’s South Hill bank branch helped me count each check, bill and coin.

In the early editions of Spokane Street Music Week, I could thank everyone by name. That’s not possible anymore, alas, but I do want to express my appreciation to …

•City Council member Nancy McLaughlin for singing “Close to You.”

•The Spokesman-Review marketing department for ad support and posters designed by our graphics whiz, Nita Alexander.

•My newsroom pals Mary Beth Donelan and Patty Franz, who helped sort and roll the lion’s share of donations.

•And especially the 100-plus performers who picked, fiddled, played, sang, danced, etc.

Make no mistake. These talented and selfless volunteers are why Spokane Street Music Week has turned into such a success.

So here’s an idea. Let’s do it again next year.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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