Dozens of Forest Park residents brought folding chairs and set up outside the home of Todd and Rina Petersen last Thursday evening for the second Stoop Sessions event, a free night of music sponsored by the Forest Park Arts Alliance (FPAA).
The performer was Elio Adriano, a 23-year-old from Indonesia. He came to the United States three months ago to start his degree in music at Harold Washington College. He’s been playing piano since he was four years old. He entertained the Forest Park crowd with jazz pieces on the keyboard, sometimes singing along. Forest Parkers Sam Whalen and Rina Petersen, accompanied by Adriano, sang two songs each as well.
Rina Petersen, who is also from Indonesia, met Adriano through the local Indonesian community. She said once she heard him play, she knew she had to have him perform at Stoop Sessions. It’s unusual, she said, to see someone so young with so much talent.
Porch Sessions, which began this summer with a performance by Daniel and Sarah Gasse on Aug. 19, is already growing in popularity. The crowd was bigger this time, according to organizer Lin Beribak. She said that Stoop Sessions was one of the ideas the FPAA came up with during a brainstorming session two years ago. The first year of the organization’s existence was spent primarily applying for and establishing their non-profit status, she said. Now, they’re up and ready to go, and one of their first projects is Stoop Sessions.
At first, she said, she solicited musical performers. Already, though, she has musicians reaching out to her, and there are Stoop Session events booked through the end of October, after which the weather will be too iffy to continue until next summer. Planning next year’s Garage Galleries will begin in January, and in the upcoming year the FPAA will push for more membership, so they can accomplish more goals in the effort to bring art to the community and encourage local artists.
The next Stoop Sessions concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at 540 Ferdinand.