Wednesday’s installment of Spokane Street Music Week was truly one for the ages.
Or the annals of YouTube, perhaps.
Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart made good on their threat to perform “Ebony and Ivory” as a sidewalk duel.
Oops. I meant duet.
“Ebony and Ivory,” of course, is the old pop standard made famous by Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
The Condon/Stuckart collaboration was more like “Agony and Earaches.”
Now, I don’t want to be overly analytical. There were fleeting moments when the tune was almost recognizable, kind of.
For the most part, however, the cacophonous blend of harmonies was reminiscent of woodland creatures squabbling over foraging rights.
But Condon and Stuckart did what they did with hilarious aplomb.
Plus having them out singing and away from City Hall was music to the taxpayers’ ears.
These two were such great sports.
I can’t thank them enough for taking part in the 11th annual Spokane Street Music Week.
Condon and Stuckart were among 52 buskers who made our sidewalks come alive with music and vibe on Wednesday.
The event will continue to bring musicians and entertainers to the downtown core and the Garland District during the noon hours through Friday.
As always, every cent collected goes to the Second Harvest food bank coffers for the fight against hunger.
Last year’s landmark 10th annual Spokane Street Music Week raised a record $12,000.
Call me a dreamer, but I know what Condon and Stuckart did could help us beat that mark.
“Is this enough to make them stop?” said one witness who laughingly stuffed a wad of green bills into my red collection bucket.
Once they had mercifully run out of notes, Condon and Stuckart asked some members of their entourages to join them at the microphones set up near Starbucks on Main Avenue across from Pottery Barn.
This larger group warbled a touching rendition of that old campfire spiritual, “Kumbaya,” perhaps to ask forgiveness for what had transpired earlier.
We’re now officially on the downward slide of this year’s event, but there’s still plenty more entertainment to come.
Peter Rivera – former lead singer of Rare Earth – will appear today at the Starbucks location to sing from his catalog of monster hits.
“Get Ready.” “Celebrate.” “Losing You.”
“Big Brother” …
Also today Mark Peterson, KXLY-4 weather guy and an anchor on “Good Morning Northwest,” will take part in Spokane Street Music Week.
Peterson will cruise the sidewalks to sign autographs or answer deep meteorological inquiries – for a donation to the food bank, that is.
Example: “Mark, who’ll stop the rain?”
Answer: “John Fogerty.”
For larger donations you can give Peterson a piece of your mind about any of his forecasts that didn’t work out.
But be prepared to run. Peterson’s a pretty big dude. He’s also one of the funniest guys I know so I’m sure you’ll love his answers.
On Friday we’ll switch channels. Randy Shaw, KREM-2’s iconic news anchor, will croon a couple tunes at the Starbucks site.
Chad Mitchell and Mike Kobluk – two-thirds of the legendary Chad Mitchell Trio – will also be there to harmonize on “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and some of their other memorable Folk Era hits.
Did you know these guys played Carnegie Hall not once, not twice, but three times?
And don’t forget what’s happening tonight.
A free showing of “Sing For Their Supper,” the half-hour documentary about Spokane Street Music Week, will take place at the historic Garland Theater.
The doors open at 7:15 p.m. There will be some live music, too. Warning: Although I hyped this as a free event, a collection will be taken for the food bank.
Maybe I’m being seduced by all the fair weather that Mark Peterson has blessed us with lately, but this year’s Street Music Week has been a blast. Part of it has come from seeing so many familiar faces: those good-hearted and talented folks who have made Spokane Street Music Week an established event.
Frank Wagner, Wallis Friel, Dave Bezdicek, Joe Brasch, Dave McRae, Ernie Vollmer, Daniel Cox, Curt Donner, Verne Windham, Jeff Peterson, Charlie Lee, Bob Glaza, Barbara Baldwin …
There are way too many to list. But all the regulars have helped turn Spokane Street Music Week into a successful and established event.
Some of the new faces are pretty helpful, too.
Tommy Gantt, for example.
If Gantt had been around back in 2002, this event might not have started.
If you recall, I went out strumming my guitar around town during the noon hours because in terms of quality, my hometown’s level of street music was stuck between miserable and pathetic.
Gantt, however, is the real-deal street musician who has been performing regularly on the sidewalks of Spokane for the last five or six years.
You can usually see him singing and playing his guitar in front of River Park Square.
Gantt, 47, has polished guitar chops and a first-class singing voice.
He also has a repertoire of what seems like a jukebox full of crowd-pleasing pop songs and some originals.
He’s a professional busker, in other words.
Gantt relies on the generosity of strangers to pay his bills and buy his guitar strings.
What I’m saying is that this charity event called Spokane Street Music Week does cut into his pay.
Even so, Gantt graciously agreed to cheerfully donate his noon-hour take to our food bank cause.
It’s a classy thing to do.
Others have gone miles to donate to Spokane Street Music Week.
Their names are Bonnie and Harry Larrison, married for the last 48 years.
I met Bonnie the other day when she handed me a medium-size plastic baggie filled with small change.
The Larrisons found the money, she told me, while taking daily walks.
A penny here. A quarter there …
All the money went into the baggie. On Tuesday, she brought her year’s worth of collections to donate to what she called her favorite cause.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
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