Despite the intermittent rain falling through much of Saturday morning, the afternoon started downtown with plenty of rousing music in the kick-off of the Madison Made Music Project.
Dozens of local musicians performed solo or in ensemble along the entire length of State Street in a benefit for Porchlight, Inc. and the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, a non-profit provider of emergency shelter and low-cost housing in Dane County. Titled "Beat the Street," this event was the first stage of a long term project by the organization to build awareness about homelessness and poverty in the Madison area.
Homelessness has been an increasingly visible yet commensurately overlooked issue in downtown Madison over the last few years, excepting of course the dedicated efforts of established food and shelter services, along with newer efforts like Savory Sunday and Street Pulse. Last winter, Porchlight points out, the use of food pantries and emergency shelters for men were at an "unprecedented high."
Performers of all ages, who were required to play unplugged, wielded numerous instruments from saxophones to accordions to fiddles as they took over most corners of the six-block stretch of State from 1 until 2 p.m. this afternoon for "Beat the Street."
Several brief video clips of these performances follow.
The Sigourney Weavers -- a relatively new four-piece -- attracted a crowd of viewers at the corner of Dayton and Fairchild right in front of the entrance to the Overture Center.
Isthmus features editor and country musician Kenneth Burns performed in front of The Chocolate Shoppe at the corner of Gilman and Broom. "It's for a good cause," he noted. Here he peformes "Long Haired Redneck."
The SpareTime Bluegrass Band, winners of the 2007 MAMA for Best Country/Bluegrass Album of the Year, played just across Gilman Street from Burns in front of the longtime gift-shop turned failed Reebok retailer. Here they are performing "Cold Virginia Night" by The Foster Sisters.
Down at the intersection of Frances and State, across the plaza from State Street Brats, The Accordion Ladies played the "Beer Barrel Polka" by Jaromír Vejvoda.
Finally, The Redbirds -- a project of Nob Hill Boys John Fabke and Paul Kienitz -- played in front of the Walgreens on the campus end of State Street.
There were many, many other musicians participating in Beat the Street aside from this small sampling. The locations where each was scheduled to play are detailed in a Google Map. These listings follow, though they do not correspond exactly with the actual lineup out on State Street today.
Pagee a Go Go
State & Carroll at pavillion/Children's Museum
State & Dayton at Mary's Tailors
Karl von Heune
State & Fairchild at Game Hunter
State & Dayton at Associated Bank/Jack's
The Sigourney Weavers
State & Fairchild at Overture main entrance
Honor Among Thieves
State Johnson at MMoCA
State & Johnson at Noodles
Mike Dinian & Tommy Thompson
State & Johnson at Fontana
Jeff Burkhart & Colin Bazsali
State & Johnson at Cosi
State & Johnson at Tutto Pasta
State & Gorham at optometrist
State & Gorham at Badger Liquor
State & Gorham at Casa de Lara
7th Grade Horns
State & Gorham at Jamba Juice
Rick March Polka
State & Gilman at Chocolate Shoppe
SpareTime Bluegrass Band
State & Gilman at 502 State
Oak Street Ramblers
State & Broom at Reprise Hair Studio
Christy Larson & Mark Roeder
State & Broom at Real Chili
State & Gilman at Stop & Shop
The Accordion Ladies
State & Francis at State St. Brats
State & Lake in front of Wahlgreen's
State & Lake in front of UBS software store
East High quartet
Foot of Library Mall facing up State
"Beat the Street" was only the first step of the Madison Made Music Project and its campaign to address the growth of poverty in town.
The next stage is a competition, in which local musicians are asked to submit a song for inclusion on a compilation CD that will feature some 15 tracks "that represent the diversity of local music." These selections will be made by a committee that includes a strong cross-section of the city's music community, including project co-founder Jeff Burkhart, WORT music director Sybil Augustine, music writer and performer Charles Hughes, country music historian Bill Malone, jazz standout Ben Sidran, and Smart Studios co-founder Butch Vig, among others. Entries may be submitted until July 9, and the winners will be announced about a month later.
These musicians included on the compilation CD will also be invited to perform in one of five concerts on Thursday, September 20, which will be held at the Orpheum, Overture, King Club, Café Montmartre, and Brocach Irish Pub. These shows will also serve as a food drive as part of the project's charitable mission.