Porchfest Got NDG in a Dancing Mood for the Fifth Year

Residents Were Enchanted by the Local Arts

NDG resident Sheindl Rothman and her husband always dance at Porchfest. Photo Aysha White

On May 18, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce resident Sheindl Rothman and her husband were dancing to the Kim Beyea band. From the sultry “Song for My Father” to the lively “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” the couple swayed to the jazz trio’s rendition of classics at the NDG Porchfest.

For the fifth year now, porches were transformed into stages for citizens to showcase their musical talents in a relaxed and family-friendly environment.

“It’s important—a lot of people in NDG are very artsy and musically inclined, so I think it’s a wonderful initiative,” said Rothman.

To commence their Porchfest experience, the couple cycled over to the Alley Cat gallery, on Sherbrooke St. W., where the jazz trio was performing at 1 p.m.

“We always dance,” she added. “We’re getting a sign that says ‘This kitchen is for dancing,’ because if a song comes on the radio, we just start to dance.”

Porchfest saw people from all walks of life attending and enjoying themselves—alongside married couples, toddlers and children were dancing to the various genres of music.

“What’s better than listening to music outside, and dancing if you want? There’s an assortment of different kinds of music, and it’s just fantastic.” — Sheindl Rothman

From jazz and classical music, to folk, and indie, everyone could find their own pleasure at Porchfest, as the festival doesn’t discriminate based on skill level or genre.

High school friends Jérémie Legault and Massimo Cannucci have been playing together since they were 14 years old. Together they form the band Condor Matador—debuting their acoustic pop original songs on Legault’s sister’s porch.

The duo was going for a busking vibe, and made backing tracks to accompany their two guitars and voices. “The intent was to be able to put a full sound between the two of us,” said Legault.

“People are walking by, sometimes they want to stop, sometimes they keep on going,” he added.

“It’s trying to connect. It’s always trying to connect. I want to make people happy, I want people to hear songs, and I hope that my songs make them happy.”

Porchfest is an opportunity for residents to build the community they want to see, said Sarah Ring, one of the coordinators. Both herself and Aurora Robinson, the other coordinator, are Concordia alumni.

Condor Matador is composed of Jérémie Legault and Massimo Cannucci, they performed pop originals. Photo Aysha White

Kristen Noble, 9 years old, saw a business opportunity in Porchfest. Meeting the festival attendees’ needs for a cold beverage and her budding entrepreneurial spirit, she sold bottled water, iced tea, and lemonade.

Noble’s mom accompanied her as she carried the beverage wagon and handled the transactions. The project helped Noble towards a Girl Guides’ badge.

“I hope everyone is happy with it,” said the NDG resident of four years. “If they’re not then I’m so sorry.”

The community-led festival is a grassroots initiative—it’s not sponsored by a company, and no one is trying to sell the residents anything, explained Ring.

She added that during the festival, money was raised for the benefit of funding St-Raymond’s Community Centre’s music program, located on Upper Lachine Rd.

“It’s just a great event that brings the community together,” said Rothman. “What’s better than listening to music outside, and dancing if you want? There’s an assortment of different kinds of music, and it’s just fantastic.”