Arts and Culture

Gretchen Elise revisits the Cedar Park stage with her daughter

June 14, 2016

Cedar Park Neighbors presents free jazz on Fridays for the summer in Cedar Park - with Gretchen Elise and © Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.netFor more info: http://www.gretchenelise.comhttp://www.cedarparkneighbors.org

Gretchen Elise during her June 10, 2015 Cedar Park Jazz performance (Photo © Jacques-Jean Tiziou /

Gretchen Elise is a woman about town. You might recognize her from her performances at local community events or from her 9-to-5 as Director of Development at St. Mary’s Nursery School. You can catch her at the Cedar Park Jazz series on June 17 with her five piece band, with DM Hotep (David Middleton), the guitarist from Sun Ra Arkestra, along with The Authentic, Naeemah Maddox, Anam Owili-Egar, Brandon Kerakowski, Rick Martino and Luke Walker.


Gretchen performs during Make Music Philly Day at Arch St. Meeting House in June, 2014 (Photo by Ella Gahnt)

Growing up in Swarthmore, Gretchen has been playing music since she was a kid. She joined chorus, bell choir and took piano lessons. She wrote a song and sent it to her idol and former Olympic gymnast, Nadia Comaneci.

As a part of her creative process, Gretchen mentioned the need to integrate all aspects of her life, which makes the Cedar Park music series the perfect way to tie all aspects of her identity together.

Gretchen has worked on writing a song for the Cedar Park show with her 7-year-old daughter, who might even make a guest appearance.

“For me it makes sense to integrate my identity as an artist, as an educator, as a community member and as a mother,” she said. “I’m happiest when all of these things are integrated, which is why I think Cedar Park is the ultimate gig. It’s in my community, with my family, in a setting where there’s a park next door where my kids and other kids can play.”

Cedar Park Jazz Series is held every Friday through July 29, from 6 – 8 p.m. (weather permitting).

Rana Fayez

Comments (0)

West Philadelphia Orchestra kicks off Summer Nights Concert Series at Penn Museum; $5 tickets with this promo

June 10, 2016


West Philadelphia Orchestra will kick off Summer Nights Concert Series at Penn Museum on Wednesday, June 15 (Photo courtesy of Penn Museum).

It’s hard to imagine summer in the city without outdoor music. A popular outdoor concert series, Summer Nights at the Penn Museumkicks off on Wednesday, June 15, with a performance by well-known brass band West Philadelphia Orchestra. We’re excited to let you know about a special admission deal for West Philly residents. Those who will print out and bring this post to the museum on June 15 (or show it on your cell phone), will be able attend the concert for only $5 (regular admission is $10). Please note that this offer is only valid for the first concert in the series, which will take place every Wednesday through Sept. 2.

Concerts take place outside in Penn Museum’s Stoner Courtyard garden from 5 to 8 p.m., and the ticket also includes admission to most of the museum’s galleries. Concerts take place rain or shine, moving inside in inclement weather. For more information, click here.

And here’s some more information about West Philadelphia Orchestra:

WPO draws inspiration from Serbian, Romani, and Hungarian musical traditions, as well as New Orleans brass street bands. Original compositions include lighthearted titles such as “Truck on Fire” and “Super Lunch,” both sung in English, while the track “Busta Woo-Ha” is a WPO mashup of a traditional Klezmer melody, “Dem Rebens Tanz,” with a Busta Rhymes / Galt MacDermot sample. Be prepared to sing along!

Comments (0)

Jazz and scholarships: Two signature Cedar Park events this weekend (Update: Jazz cancelled)

June 3, 2016

Cedar Park Neighbors presents free jazz on Fridays for the summer in Cedar Park - with Gretchen Elise and friends. photo © Jacques-Jean Tiziou / For more info:

Photo © Jacques-Jean Tiziou /

UPDATE: Tonight’s performance by the Bernard Samuels Trio has been cancelled due to wet weather. Progressive Movement is scheduled to perform next Friday, June 10.

This is a reminder that Cedar Park Neighbors will be holding two of their biggest annual events this weekend.

Cedar Park Jazz Nights will kick off this Friday at 6 p.m. with a performance by Bernard Samuels Trio. This is a free weekly event, happening every Friday from 6 -8 p.m. at Cedar park (49th and Baltimore). Please bring your blanket or chair and enjoy live music by Philly’s best jazz musicians and guests. More information and performance lineup through July 29, read this post.

CedarParkscholarshipOn Sunday, June 5, neighbors are invited to support local youth who are heading out to college this fall at the Annual Gary Bronson Scholarship Fundraiser, which will be held from 4-6 p.m. at St. Francis De Sales Parrish School Auditorium (917 S. 47th St.). There will be live music, food, drink and an opportunity to meet your community.

The Gary Bronson Memorial Scholarship Fund is named in honor of the visionary Cedar Park resident who founded the CPN Scholarship Committee in 1988. This scholarship fund supports young adults living in Cedar Park who are committed to pursuing higher education. The scholarship provides them with both mentorship and financial support to help them be successful in their post-secondary endeavors. You can purchase tickets for the event ($40; free for children under 12) or make donations to the fund here. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Comments (0)

Live jazz returns to West Philly parks (updated)

May 27, 2016

Summer brings many cool events to West Philly neighborhoods, including street festivals, outdoor music, art and movies, farmers’ and flea markets, and food-centered events, so we’ll be posting this information as it becomes available. Today’s post is dedicated to a popular summer event in the area – jazz in local parks.

cedarparkjazzWe’re happy to report that two West Philly parks, Cedar Park and Malcolm X Park, will once again be hosting jazz nights featuring well-known local musicians and guests throughout the summer.

Friday Night Jazz in Cedar Park (49th and Baltimore) will kick off on Friday, June 3, with a performance by Bernard Samuels Trio. Performances will be held every Friday, 6 – 8 p.m.. Here’s the lineup through July 29 (additional performances may be announced later):

June 3 – Bernard Samuels Trio
June 10 – Progressive Movement
June 17 – Gretchen Elise & Friends
June 24 – Jazz Lab Project
July 1 – Rich Tucker & Friends
July 8 – Dendê Mercado/Brazilian artist
July 15 – Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound IV
July 22 – Clef Club Youth Ensemble
July 29 – Philadelphia Clef Club/ Tribute to Donald “Chappy” Washington Band & Friends

Cedar Park Jazz is hosted by Cedar Park Neighbors and is made possible thanks to donations from local organizations, businesses and individuals. If you would like to support this event and help bring more performances to the park, click here.

West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series are held at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine) every other Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. The series is hosted by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Friends of Malcolm X Park. Here’s the lineup through Sept. 15:

June 9 – The Jazz Lab Project
June 23 – Vocalist: The Barbara Walker Story
July 7 – Bassist: Bill Booker & Trio
July 21 – Vocalist: Shirley Lites
Aug. 4 – Budesa Brothers
Aug. 18 – Perfect Solution
Sept. 1 – Napoleon Redeemer & The 61st St Band
Sept. 15 – Angel Baby Music  Continue Reading

Comments (2)

West Philly Porchfest: Taking porch culture to another level

May 24, 2016

If you live in West Philly, chances are you or someone you know has a porch where you’ve spent time drinking your beverage of choice on a warm summer day. Porch sitting is a neighborhood activity that people have engaged in as a way of exchanging ideas and bonding with neighbors for years, and the organizers of West Philly Porchfest (WPPF), which will be held on Saturday, June 4, would like to harness that energy to build stronger connections within the West Philly music scene.

Print“Porchfest is something that the neighborhood can do for itself that really breaks down all sorts of barriers [between music and fans]. Varying skill levels, genres, people who are on tour, people who have never played music before, people whose friends didn’t know they played guitar can play music. It opens up the opportunity for people who have never been invited to house shows in the past to appreciate this music,” explained Owen Lyman-Schmidt, of the West Philly Porchfest Coordinating Committee.

No one is sure of where the first Porchfest took place, but WPPF is modeling its event after Somerville Porchfest. The idea is simple: The West Philly Porchfest coordinating committee of five people will compile a list of participating porches and performers, each porch will be responsible for donating its own sound, electricity and performers. A sense of independent “Do It Yourself” will guide event participants, but Lyman-Schmidt says he hopes to also cultivate a sense of “Do it Together” where porches will collaborate with one another to make the festival a reality.  Continue Reading

Comments (5)

Mural painting this Sunday at Malcolm X Park

May 20, 2016


                          Click to enlarge.

Community members are invited to come by Malcolm X Park (51st and Pine) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 to help paint a mural-in-progress by artists James Burns and Eric Okdeh and to explore the mental health services available to all Philadelphians.

The invitation is part of The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Painting a Healthy City, an event from the behavioral health and wellness department, Porch Light.

Painting a Healthy City is a public paint day plus a behavioral health resource fair (inclusive of legal, employment, housing, trauma, counseling, and food insecurity resources), achieving Porch Light’s mission to connect communities in Philadelphia to health and wellness resources in low-stigma environments.

Featured murals this year come from Kirkbride Center and Girard Medical Center’s Goldman Clinic, where Okdeh and Burns have been hosting workshops since October. The artists’ designs draw from participant artwork and stories to create a vibrant picture of recovery, resilience, and hope.

Comments (3)

  • By special request hand built WestPhilly mugs by threetceramics Neighborhood
  • smallbusinesssaturday sale at VIX and in the preciousmeshes etsy shop!
  • Busy punching and binding calendars for Saturdays AnniVIXary XI party
  • Thanks to Zach from blackhoundclay for making us these tiles!

Follow us on Instagram


Follow Us:


Upcoming Events