Rockville Centre’s Chamber of Commerce to host inaugural Playing on the Porch event

Live music coming to a porch near you

Music filled the hot summer air on Wallace Street one afternoon early this month. Bright-sounding guitar, electric piano, upbeat vocals and humming bass echoed from large amplifiers on Bill and Lisa Wahlig’s front lawn into the street, drawing a few neighbors outside to see the performance.

This was only a practice session for the four musicians, who play in a band at the Wahligs’ place of worship, the Church of the Intercessor in Malverne. On Sept. 7, the show will happens for real when they host the band outside their house again — this time welcoming guests to the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Playing on the Porch event.

“Lisa and I are pleased to participate,” Bill Wahlig said. “Rockville Centre is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and filling our streets with different forms of music shows the vitality and diversity of our community.”

The Wahligs’ home is one of about 15 locations where people can catch outdoor performances on the first Saturday of September. For the past month, the chamber has encouraged participants to register for the event. On Sept. 7, residents can follow a map to all the venues in the family-friendly, village-wide music festival.

“People ask what the chamber does, and it helps people to be aware of business, en-courages them to shop local,” chamber President Brian Croutier said, “and it also brings exciting events not only to businesses, but the community.”

Playing on the Porch will be the first music event of its kind on Long Island, Croutier said. Chamber member Iyna Caruso suggested the idea after hearing about Playing Music on the Porch Day, which has taken place in cities and towns worldwide since 2013.

“I loved the idea of building a community event around music,” Caruso said, “and thought it would be a perfect fit for Rockville Centre.”

She added that many houses in the village have “beautiful porches that make for a great stage,” but anyone can participate, whether it’s on a front lawn, a driveway or an apartment terrace.

The Wahligs, who have lived in the village since 1994, jumped at the opportunity to host a performance by musicians from their church. The Church of the Intercessor has about 25 members who live in Rockville Centre, Bill Wahlig said.

He also noted that Playing on the Porch aligns well with the church’s “Communities in Christ” mission, and is a “fantastic opportunity to add contemporary Christian music to the streets of Rockville Centre and touch the lives of those who hear it.”

Peter and Delia Garrity, who live around the corner on Wachusetts Street, will also take part. Peter will play acoustic guitar with two fellow musicians on his front stoop. “Any chance I get to play guitar, I do it,” Peter said. He and his friends will play folk, folk-rock and country-western music, as well as children’s songs.

Delia said she hoped the event would “start a tradition,” and reminisced about the block parties that used to bring people together on their street.

Lisa Wahlig agreed. “It’s an opportunity to get together with neighbors,” she said. “We’re all so busy with our lives, so with this we can take an hour or two to come out and see each other.”

The concerts will take place at participating homes from 3 to 6 p.m. But the fun won’t end there. The music will continue when the chamber hosts an open mic night at Kasey’s Kitchen and Cocktails’ rooftop from 6 to 9 p.m.

To learn more about the event, residents can contact Caruso at iyna@optonline.net.

100 Years of Connecting Commerce & Community