On a recent Saturday morning, laughter and music broke the silence just west of the Dandelion Fountain along the Naperville’s Riverwalk while a couple waited for a table at Egg Harbor, a local breakfast restaurant. Drawn like moths to a flame they crossed Jackson at Webster streets, walking toward the sound emanating from the pavilion where a blend of instruments and voices rang out.
A half dozen musicians stood in a circle playing guitars and banjos, while another thumped out rhythm on an enormous stand up bass. An audience of couples sipping coffee, moms pushing strollers, and power walkers sang along to a mix of folk, country, and classic rock songs. Children danced by the fountain. Dogs barked. Song requests were shouted out. It was hard to tell who was having a better time, the musicians or audience.
During a break, Naperville resident and musician Russ Swanson reported the group has been getting together since late spring, treating the community to home-grown music purely for the love of it. More than two dozen musicians have joined the informal group since May with the mix of players a little different each week. Occasionally, an audience member will pull out a harmonica or return with a guitar to join in.
New musicians are welcome and recruited mostly by word of mouth with a bit of help from social media like Facebook. All are welcome, regardless of skill. The youngest being a 7-year-old girl who treated the crowd to her rendition of Smoke on the Water.
When the audience began dropping money in their instrument cases, the group decided to donate any funds to the Loaves and Fishes, the local community pantry.
The group meets every Saturday morning from 8 to 11AM in the Riverwalk Pavilion across from the Naperville Public Library.
According to organizer Swanson, come autumn they hope to find a Saturday morning indoor venue in the downtown area. A coffee shop or restaurant would be ideal— that is if they don’t mind the lively music and laughter along with a crowd of potential customers.
For more information contact Russ.email@example.com.
Info can can also be found Facebook by searching for “Naperville Acoustic Pickers.”
Submitted by Russ Swanson
RELATED MUSIC POST: Chorus of DuPage at Riverwalk Amphitheater on Aug. 15