Playing on the porch, together


If you found yourself tapping along to the beat last weekend in Fairhope then you were entranced by the melodic sounds of musicians participating in International Play Music on the Porch Day.

Nearly a dozen melody makers entertained Saturday shoppers as they performed tunes known to young and old in front of the Fairhope Museum of History.

International Play Music On the Porch Day, founded by Los Angeles-area artist Brian Mallman, is held on the last Saturday of each August. The event brings people together around the world, regardless of their differences, to find common ground through music.

Started in 2013 in the community of Highland Park, Calif., the event has spread internationally. In 2018, over 600 communities in 60 countries participated, from small get-togethers of musicians to jam, to concert style events. Participants meet, play music, and upload videos of their jams to social media. The Fairhope event was among only a handful of sites in Alabama, and was the only participating venue on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Mike Turner, a Fairhope songwriter and organizer of the local event, said simply playing together through a common thread of music can help unite and strengthen ties in the toughest of days.

“We live in challenging times, with so many issues and events bombarding us and dividing us every moment of every day on social media, on television and through the Internet,” Turner said. “Music is a force that unites us, that binds us together in the things that are the best and brightest of humanity. “