Busking for a cause in the greatest little city on the planet

Molly and I popped downtown yesterday and enjoyed another example our hometown’s contagious charm. Appleton, Wisconsin’s inclusion on this list of six little cities everyone should visit came as no surprise to us. From our well-tended and attended city parks to our frequent festivals, from the diverse restaurants to the live theatres, from our neighbors to our schools, Appleton remains a wonderful place to raise a family.

The latest example is Street Music week, a five-day festival of altruism and the arts, which began Monday. From noon to 1 p.m. you can stroll College Avenue and listen to all manner of multi-generational music.

We saw a bongo drum call and response, then watched a trio of cute siblings play the piano. We heard a shy young songwriter strum her guitar, and listened to a family perform.

The wide variety of musicians playing on a two-block area might have generated some discordant notes, but on a warm Tuesday afternoon, it all sounded joyful to us.

Adding to the harmony of the occasion was a universal cause. Every street performer collected money for Feeding America.

We salute the Street Music performers for bravely standing on a cement stage and playing for a passing crowd. We thank the organizers, who celebrate a cause and generate applause for all our talented musicians.

Lastly, we encourage you to spend a lunch hour in downtown Appleton this week and enjoy some of Wisconsin’s hottest commodities, its homegrown musicians.

Call and response
We loved the boots and the enthusiasm of this drummer, who came with a guitar and a whole bunch of bongos. She invited everyone to play along. Great fun!
Busking couple
A well-rounded musician performs in front of the aptly named Harmony Cafe.
Dolce Acoustic
Doris and Bill of Dolce Acoustic played a cool dulcimer duet.
Feeding America
Everyone collected money for Feeding America.
Piano Cherubs
We watched three of the cutest kids in America play a piano trio that made our day.
Shot from the bug
We love the chutzpah of the street musician, who can stand on a corner and perform to a bustling crowd or a passing car. The motivation is the music.
The fire musicians
A sweet songwriter and her sidekick.
Too cool for school
We could have listened to any one of these musicians perform for hours.
We hope to hear this trio again sometime soon.

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