A special in-store musical treat for trick-or-treaters at this Port Coquitlam park on Halloween

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What started as a way to give her neighbors a taste of music during the COVID-19 pandemic has become a Sunday tradition for a local professional singer.

A cute little park in Port Coquitlam served as the backdrop for impromptu Sunday night concerts, bringing neighbors together for wellness songs and cheers.

Lisa Rae Simons, professional singer and bassist with a powerful voice and an infectious smile, carries her guitars around for Settlers Park, where she sings popular tunes and responds to the musical demands of her neighbors.

“It was a way to share my gift with the community and give them something to look forward to,” said Simons, who has been on the Vancouver music scene for decades, teaches music and performs and sings with the Motown Show. as well as some of British Columbia’s biggest tribute groups.

Now she’s planning one last song night for 2021 – Halloween night.

Simons promises to play “Monster Mash” and other creepy tunes for those who show up.

The gatherings, which usually take place around dinner time, bring dog walkers, families and music lovers together under the trees next to the playground in Settlers Park.

It has become a Sunday night tradition that began in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued this spring, summer and fall, and which Simons hopes to continue next year.

“I’ve heard people say it’s literally a lifeline for them,” said Simons, who said his motivation was to share his music but also to keep his “chops” when many venues were closed. .

His fellow musicians often accompany him, and there may be up to half a dozen professional musicians – with amps and drums – to complete the sound.

There is no name for the group; it’s just a fun gathering, Simons said, and she said her band will play everything from kids’ music to rock, blues and R&B.

“I’m going with the flow of whatever the moment wants,” she said.

Her audience is “whoever shows up” and she performs even in cool, windy weather as well as scorching heat. The impromptu gatherings take place on a flat piece of grass next to a children’s playground.

It’s an ideal setting for outdoor musical evenings, Simons said, as the park is already laid out for COVID-19 secure gatherings, with picnic tables spaced apart.

And since the city approved alcohol consumption for legal age people, people bring their lawn chairs to listen to music while enjoying a drink or even a picnic.

Musical evenings start around 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and donations are welcome.

Halloween night will be the last impromptu “show” of the year and will begin around 6 pm.


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