By EMMA HERMAN
Music abounds in Hyde Park this summer, with multiple free concerts happening throughout the neighborhood each week. Newly added to the roster of events is a free open-air music series at Harper Court, co-hosted by the University of Chicago and Eric Williams, owner of the recently-opened jewelry and apparel shop The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. The concerts are scheduled for the last Wednesday of each month from July to September and will be held in the courtyard area of Harper Court, in the same space as the weekly farmers’ market.
The three events, which will all run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., feature both music and dancing, with a different genre each month. July 29 is Steppers Night, with radio host Herb Kent and DJ Calvin Haynes hosting. At 7:30 p.m., Wallace E. Goode Jr., president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, plans to present Kent with a key to the neighborhood in recognition of his long career and other accomplishments. In 2009, the Guinness Book of World Records certified Kent as the world’s longest serving DJ. Kent, who is from the South Side, graduated from Hyde Park High School and started working on the air as a teenager before studying broadcasting at Northwestern University.
The second and third events in the series will be jazz and salsa/Brazilian-themed, respectively. On Aug. 26, Kahil El’Zabar will bring his band and play alongside DJ Duane Powell and on Sept. 30, Bossa Tres, DJ Kimani Rashaad and Jose “Papo” Santiago will each play a set, preceded by salsa dancing lessons hosted by Roger Noel from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The restaurants at Harper Court will be open and paid parking will be available in the Harper Court garage as well as in the lot near Harper Avenue and surrounding streets.
“A big part of my store is the event aspect and I’m really happy to be able to partner with the university to curate these three events for the community,” said Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, which recently relocated from Wicker Park to Hyde Park this past spring.
In addition to being a retail business, The Silver Room doubles as an art gallery and community gathering space.
For more information on 53rd Street events visit fiftythird.uchicago.edu.