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Doug Clark: Street Music Week hit whole new high

Sun., June 16, 2013

Chad Mitchell, Doug Clark and Mike Kobluk perform near the corner of Main and Post during Street Music Week,  June 14, 2013 ,in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-reivew)
Chad Mitchell, Doug Clark and Mike Kobluk perform near the corner of Main and Post during Street Music Week, June 14, 2013 ,in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-reivew)

And the grand total and NEW record is …

Hold that thought.

Before we strike up the band and make the big confetti mess, I’d like to explain why the 11th annual Spokane Street Music Week should be remembered as the year of happy accidents.

HAPPY ACCIDENT ONE: Out of the blue, Julie Shepard-Hall decides to get the Garland District involved in our event that raises money for the Second Harvest food bank thanks to musicians and entertainers who – until now – perform on the sidewalks of downtown Spokane.

Though a nonperformer, the Garland business owner believes such sidewalk show biz will be a perfect fit for her historic artsy neighborhood.

She’s right. Despite a modest early turnout, street participation grew all week to bring in an unexpected $1,000-plus for the battle against hunger.

HAPPY ACCIDENT TWO: So I’m shopping in Safeway one Sunday when I bump into Josh Burrows, a good guy and longtime friend.

Burrows plays guitar. Knowing this, I give him my supermarket sales pitch on the virtues of Spokane Street Music Week, which is two weeks away.

A light clicks on. I can see it in his eyes.

Burrows has been looking for a reason to crack open that guitar case.

Just as I promised, Burrows has a total blast rocking out on the sidewalks.

And thanks to his involvement (not to mention his connections), Burrows receives a $1,500 check for the food bank from Washington Trust Bank.

Bravo, my friend!

HAPPY ACCIDENT THREE: It all begins when Rod Schumacher spies one of our Spokesman-Review ads about Spokane Street Music Week.

Schumacher, interim CEO for Deaconess Hospital, asks Joey Frost, a Deaconess administrator, to “check into this. This seems like something we should be involved in.”

Schumacher likes what he hears and soon challenges his employees, physicians and volunteers and those at Rockwood Health System to get involved in Spokane Street Music Week by either performing in the event or giving to the cause.

And so at 1 p.m. Friday, Rockwood CEO Dr. Craig Whiting punctuates the finale of this year’s event by presenting me with a bag containing more than $3,600 in donations.

Fumbling for words, I tell Dr. Whiting that I might need his medical assistance for a checkup.

Dr. Whiting explains that, he being an urologist, we probably should go somewhere more private than the sidewalk outside Starbucks on Main.

So now let me cut to the chase.

Our grand total for Spokane Street Music Week 2013 is currently hovering a little past $17,000.

That’s $5,000 more than last year’s record $12,000 amount.

Yeah, I know. It’s unbelievable.

And it couldn’t have happened without the generous efforts of the 200-plus performers who sang and strummed and danced and played their instruments all week on the civic sidewalks.

I wish I could name each and every one of you who shared your talents not only to fight hunger, but to make Spokane a richer and more vibrant city.

Some others deserve some love, as well.

The Spokesman-Review’s marketing department, of course.

And graphic artist Nita Alexander, who once again created the fabulous artwork for our posters and busker badges.

Speaking of those badges, kudos to Matt Monroe of Button Up, the official Clark column badge maker.

I literally would be nowhere without my buddies Jim Lyons and Joe Brasch. These guys are my street music right and left hands, attending to details, making TV news appearances and doing whatever it takes to keep the event successful.

And what can I say about Mary Beth Donelan?

Each year she cheerfully sorts and counts the mountain of bills and coins that I cart in during the week with never a complaint.

Before I sign off, a word about Friday.

Once again, the Tremble Clefs paid us a visit. This is one of the groups that make Spokane Street Music Week such a special event.

The Clefs are a therapeutic support choir for those with Parkinson’s disease, and singing helps strengthen the voices of those who suffer from this illness.

Speaking of Friday, KREM-2 news anchor Randy Shaw did a fine job belting out some blues and rock tunes at the Starbucks spot.

And as billed, the legendary Chad Mitchell and Mike Kobluk came down to perform “Marvelous Toy” and some of their other Folk Era hits.

They even let me join them on Tom Paxton’s “Last Thing on My Mind,” fulfilling a longtime dream of mine to be a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Yep. This was definitely a serendipitous year.

Elijah-Blue Lyons, 5, drops a donation into a red bucket as Chad Mitchell and Mike Kobluk sing near the corner of Main Avenue and Post Street during Street Music Week in Spokane. Joe Brasch plays guitar at left with event organizer, Doug Clark, at right.

Chad Mitchell, Doug Clark and Mike Kobluk perform during Street Music Week on Friday in downtown Spokane.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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