By Audrey Hendrickson
June 9-13 will mark Appleton’s second annual Street Music Week, an event that fills College Avenue with music and entertainment to benefit Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (FAEW).
Each day of the week, performers of all types and stripes will busk and collect donations between noon-1 PM. Event organizer Audrey Hendrickson believes the variety of entertainment is one of Street Music’s strongest draws.
“Last year there was everything from jugglers to an accordion player to a guy playing buckets. Because the performers are not all musicians and represent a range of abilities, the vibe on the street is just so good,” said Hendrickson.
She lauds the generosity of the performers who donated their talents last year and will do so again this year. One such performer is Jason Busse, a guitar performer and instructor at Heid Music who performed alongside his students at last year’s event. He says it was the opportunity to benefit a charity that drew him to participate.
“As a musician, we give a lot of performances [in the area] in order to make a living, and this is an opportunity where all of the proceeds go directly to the community,” said Busse.
It also provided valuable teachable moments for his students, many of whom “planned to participate one day but came out for the entire week.” When his students were nervous to perform, Busse would tell them to be aware of those feelings, and then compare it to “how much worse it is to feel hungry.”
It was performers like Busse and his students who, all combined, raised enough money at last year’s events to purchase 7,000 meals, a figure Hendrickson hopes to improve on this year. She says that, when deciding where the proceeds from Street Music should go, FAEW was an easy choice.
“Hunger is a big issue everywhere, we just don’t realize it. By donating to Feeding America, the proceeds from the event stay in the community, which I think is important,” said Hendrickson.
FAEW is “a member of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks across the country that comprises the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization,” according to materials circulated by the charity.
Here in Eastern Wisconsin, Feeding America “distributes an average of 68,000 pounds of donated food and grocery products each day,” with help from businesses, individual donors and events like Street Music Week.
Hendrickson is glad to be able to benefit the community while simultaneously celebrating the power of music and collaboration to enact change. This is encapsulated in the tag line of the event, “It’s not about virtuosity, it’s about generosity!” And it wouldn’t be possible without the performers, public and sponsors Harrison Printing & Promotion, Heid Music and the city of Appleton.
Performers interested in participating in Street Music Week will find it easy to do so. No advance registration is needed––entertainers need only show up at Heid Music (308 E. College Ave.), check out a donation bucket and find a spot on the sidewalk. After an hour of performing they return their buckets and donations to the same place.
Contact Audrey Hendrickson for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-734-1969