Attention Readers: Find Us in Your Mailbox Soon
With the coronavirus stats going in the right direction, all of us at C&G Newspapers look forward to resuming publication of the St. Clair Shores Sentinel and Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle on May 27th. All other C&G newspapers will begin publishing on June 10th (Advertiser-Times on June 24th). In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter.
 The Eszes family, of Grosse Pointe Park, has been playing regular concerts on their porch to entertain and uplift neighbors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Eszes family, of Grosse Pointe Park, has been playing regular concerts on their porch to entertain and uplift neighbors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Photos provided by Matt Eszes


Musical Grosse Pointe Park kids uplift neighbors with porch performances

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 13, 2020

 Hadley, Sydney and Nolan Eszes perform a front porch concert for their neighbors on Barrington Road in Grosse Pointe Park.

Hadley, Sydney and Nolan Eszes perform a front porch concert for their neighbors on Barrington Road in Grosse Pointe Park.

GROSSE POINTE PARK — The COVID-19 epidemic has shuttered schools and concert halls, but in at least one Grosse Pointe Park neighborhood, a family of local students is putting its musical skills to good use entertaining the people who live around them.

Inspired by the #PlayOnThePorch movement, which has spread worldwide through social media, the Eszes children — Nolan, 14, Hadley, 11, and Sydney, 6 — have been performing regular concerts for immediate neighbors and passing walkers, cyclists and motorists on the front or back porch at 6 p.m. at their home in the 500 block of Barrington Road. 

Dad Matt Eszes, a fourth grade teacher at Trombly Elementary School, said this started when his son — a freshman at Grosse Pointe South High School who plays in the school band and choir, as well as fronting his own band, the Boys of Summer — took out his guitar and sang a song or two each night at 6 p.m. It wasn’t long before Hadley, a ukulele player and sixth grader who sings in the Pierce Middle School choir, and Sydney, a first grader at Trombly, began joining their brother. Sydney adds some percussion with a shaker and tambourine, and both sisters sing backing vocals. 

The youths started the concerts on a daily basis in late March, but more recently, Matt Eszes said, the kids have been performing at 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, weather permitting.

“The idea is just to get on your porch at 6 o’clock at night and play,” Eszes said. “It’s just to spread a little love and joy in your neighborhood.”

The sets have expanded to about four or five songs, usually a mix of classic rock and pop songs and originals by Nolan. Eszes said everyone is practicing social distancing — neighbors listen from their own porches and yards, while passersby make sure to stand far apart — but otherwise, it’s not unlike a traditional concert, with neighbors cheering, applauding and sometimes even calling for an encore.

“We’ve got a good number of our neighbors who’ve made it (part of) their daily routine,” Eszes said. He added that many of his students will time their daily walks to coincide with the concerts.

Because the concerts involve the use of an amplifier, speakers and electric guitar, Eszes said they need to perform when it’s not raining. Recent concerts have included “America,” by Neil Diamond; “Lean on Me,” by Bill Withers; and “Three Little Birds,” by Bob Marley.

It’s not surprising that all of the Eszes children are musically inclined. Although he’s not formally trained, Eszes himself said he’s always been musical; he sings and plays piano and guitar, and he and fellow teacher Pat Brown perform regularly as an acoustic duo. He said his wife, Shannon, is a good singer, although she mostly supports the rest of the family’s musical endeavors. 

For those who can’t make the concerts in person, Eszes has been filming them and posting them on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MatthewEszes; the page is public, so anyone can view the posts. He said there’s also a Play on the Porch 2020 Facebook page with performances from all over the globe, something he and his family have enjoyed watching.

Eszes stressed that the concerts aren’t about promoting his son’s band.

“It’s about trying to uplift the neighborhood,” he said.