Ely has live music on Tuesday nights. The Front Porch features Pat Surface and the Boundary Waters Boys. The street is closed off and a couple hundred people bring their lawn chairs and settle in.(More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

This was to be my 7 year old granddaughter’s first live concert. Since she is a music lover she was extremely excited. Many of the listeners just sit a tap their feet but kids are wandering around and dancing in the grass in front of the porch. Addi wanted a CD after a few songs. She went up and bought one and came back and sat by me. She started a whispering campaign to get me to go get it autographed for her. I told her Donna Surface, the one she had bought it from was the woman she’d heard on the radio Sunday evening. She could just go up and ask Donna. Donna signed and then sent Addi up to the porch. She wove her way behind and in front of the band between songs. Pat then announced that Addi wanted an autograph and he signed her CD cover. People clapped for her. She bobbed off a little bow and returned to the grass.

We sang “Happy Birthday to two people in the audience. One of them was a young man with Down Syndrome who requested a conga line. The band played Jamaica Farewell and about 10 or 12 of us wound our way through the audience. Addi was a bit nervous and said, “I don’t know what a conga line is.” It didn’t matter one iota.

One couple requested “There is a season, turn, turn turn” in honor of their 44th wedding anniversary. People went in and out of the front porch returning with coffee, tea, lemonade and baked goods. A young girl, maybe 5 or 6 named Bella had asked ahead to sing. They handed her a microphone and she belted out the national anthem. She did remember all the words but explored several keys in the process. She too got a round of applause. I will admit to being so stunned that I did forget to stand up but I did put my hand over my heart.

I sat there listening watching my granddaughter blowing petunias out of a straw in time with the music and twirling about as they floated to the ground. I was so glad that her first live concert was a piece of small town Americana that is disappearing in too many places. I hope she will remember this one if she ever makes it to a Taylor Swift concert. It just won’t be the same.