Coronavirus: East Bay community turns their porches into stages amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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ByMelissa Pixcar KGO logo
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
East Bay neighbors create a backstage experience in their front yards
An East Bay community is playing live musical performances in their front yards for their neighbors during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- All around the world, musicians have been seen performing on their balconies to share a sense of joy during the novelcoronavirus pandemic. In the East Bay, neighbors are turning their porches into stages as a way of bringing neighbors together at a safe, social distance.

Alameda Porch Concerts began as a Facebook event during the first week of the shelter-in-place order. Every Friday, close to a dozen different households of musicians scattered around the community perform a musical set for neighbors and people who are passing by.

"It is a really neat way to unite all of us and let each of us in our communities feel close at this time," said Irene Nexica, organizer of the Alameda Porch Concerts. "It is allowing them (musicians) a place to have an audience and build a community."

Alameda Porch concerts is strongly implementing the six feet social distancing guidelines. "I love the idea of these concerts and getting together but we have to get together in a new way right now so everyone feels safe," said Nexica.

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Musician Camilo Landau had many live gigs planned for the year but, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all concerts and live performances were canceled indefinitely.

"It is devastating to the music industry. We're not going out and playing and it felt important to stay creative," said Landau. "Getting out here and pushing sound vibrations through the air. Even if we do it once a week, just for fun, it doesn't matter. We can make music right now in this dark time."

Alameda Porch Concerts is not only giving musicians a creative outlet, it's benefiting neighbors who are sheltering in place alone while providing a safe social environment.

With many talented musicians in Alameda, residents are able to seek multiple genres of music from jazz, cover music and Latino rock.

Patrick and Tina O'Grady started scheduling their date nights around Alameda Porch Concerts. This past week, the O'Grady's and their children decided to hone their craft and perform for their neighbors.

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"We are definitely a house full of musicians," said Tina O'Grady, singer and resident in Alameda. "It is fun to have something to look forward to. Hopefully everyone had a good time and having an excuse to get out of their houses and stay in the constraints of the rules. Having a good time watching live music."

"There's a lot of talent around here, when people can't go a million different directions and they have to stay close. It giving us the opportunity to see each other," said Patrick O'Grady, Alameda resident. "We're enjoying a stronger relationship with our neighbors because here we all are and we're in this together."

Alameda Porch Concerts plans to continue throughout the coronavirus pandemic and encourage more musicians in the Alameda community to join in on the fun.

"Music is the perfect medium to unite people," said Nexica. "These concerts really mean a lot to folks. The way that humans respond to music internally and emotionally is what can unite us in a way that is so unique."

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