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PorchaPalooza to bring the music home in Menasha

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A couple of upcoming Menasha concert nights carry a theme unlike any of their Fox Valley counterparts.

For PorchaPalooza, it’s “welcome to their neighborhood.”

PorchaPalooza will make its return to Menasha next week for the first of two June events bringing live music to lawns and audiences into otherwise quiet residential areas. Six artists will set up in the Jefferson Park neighborhood at Broad Street on June 18 and play two-hour sets beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Music Director Chris Evenson said the neighborhoods have made for special venues, creating unique experiences for music lovers — whether on the playing or listening side.

“The real beauty is having people come and really listen; not having to compete with the sports TVs,” he said. “The playing volume is very intimate and there’s an intimate relationship with the audience.”

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The concerts are supported by Goodwill NCW’s Neighborhood Partners Program. Evenson credited the program’s Julie Filapek for its sustained success.

Sponsorships from Bemis, Community First Credit Union, Heid Music and Jewelers Mutual compensate the performers for their time and talents.

The events will provide a variety of genres including jazz, blues and Americana.

The June 18 event will feature Olsen & Evenson, Shane Dar, Gary Koepke, The Rusty Nails, Miss Molly and Mike Grabner & Shaun Swanson.

PorchaPalooza will return on June 25 at 6:30 p.m. to the neighborhood surrounding Scanlan Park, just west of downtown.

The second event will feature Scott Dercks, Blue & Gray, Sam Foth, Erin Krebs and Jeff Johnston, Scanlon Duo and The Amazing Trio.

Rain dates for the events are June 19 and June 26, respectively.

They’re family friendly events and great opportunities to expose the kids to live music.

Evenson said musicians have enjoyed the laid back nature of the shows. Some of the greatest compliments have come in the form of musicians asking to return and other musicians asking how the can be a part.

As for the neighborhoods, they’re more than venues. They’re part of the greater mission.

PorchaPalooza evenings are community building events that bring people out of their homes. Neighbors enjoy an evening together and relationships bud.

Organizers are confident that just a couple of hours of live music can make a neighborhood stronger.

“They need something to pull them together; to get them out and meet their neighbors.” Evenson said. “That’s part of the spirit of the event. In the disconnected, electronic world we live in, we still need personal, human interaction.”

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