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Chamber Looks to Bounce Back as 'Feet' Return

Rainouts and heat waves left the Towson Chamber of Commerce on the hook for thousands in costs last year.

This Friday, hundreds of Towson residents will take over Allegheny Avenue for the first of Towson's popular weekly concert series.

As long as Mother Nature cooperates.

Three rainouts and two hot Friday evenings have the struggling to continue the weekly events.

Nancy Hafford, the chamber's executive director, told Patch this week that the chamber needs great turnout to help keep the music going. Three rainouts last season cost the chamber $3,500 each.

Even if the show is canceled, Hafford said, "We have to pay the band, we have to pay the sound, we have to pay for porta-potties, we have to pay for the moon bounce."

Two other concert nights were faced with high heat and low turnout.

Though the concerts have always been free, Hafford said the chamber's bill has always been covered with beer and wine sales.

The good news is that the fiscal year doesn't end until June 30, so, Hafford said, the next few weeks of Feet on the Street will be critical.

"We need some really good sunshine-y days to finish out the year where we're not hit by those things," she said. "If we have a typical Memorial Day (weekend), that'll pull us out of the hole."

Hafford said she is considering asking the public and business community for donations to help keep the concerts going, but no plans have been made final yet.

A legal battle

One of the Feet on the Street concerts that was rained out would have featured a Battle of the Bands featuring some of Towson's top legal minds.

Instead, The Objections and The Mighty Mighty Barristers will take the streets on Friday to kick off this year's concert series.

Jane Santoni, a Towson attorney, has played guitar and sang in The Objections alongside partner Joe Williams since 2004.

Santoni had played and sang in a band before, then gave it up when she was 25.

"When I got laid off from the insurance company I decided to dust off my guitar and get my amp fixed up and start playing again," she said. "We formed this band and called ourselves the Objections… and it was so much fun that we decided to keep it going."

The band performs covers of '60s, '70s and '80s rock tracks from names like The Cars, B-52's, ZZ Top and The Beatles.

"We play stuff that everybody knows and that everybody likes to dance to," Santoni said.

Their competitors are led by circuit court Judge John Nagle. Nagle didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but Brad Hallwig, who plays harmonica and keyboard for both bands said the Barristers have been at it for about 15 years.

As Hallwig, of Ellicott City, recalls it, the band started with a few lawyers in someone's basement with a few beers and someone asking, "Hey, do you know this one?"

"We played a couple of gigs and it just kept going," he said. "We still just practice and drink beer more than we just play out."

Santoni jokingly claims that, since The Objections moved their show to the Recher Theatre following last fall's rainout, her band has already won by default. Hallwig, well, objects.

"We don't actually think that music is a competitive sport," he said, with a laugh.

And, thanks to Nagle, it helps to have the court on your side.

Daniela Troia May 17, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I wish I could say that this is good for the community but Feet on the street hurts so many business on Allegheny Ave. Some of us tried to make suggestions that would benefit everyone but were ignored. I'm sure we could all put our minds together to make this successful for all.
Melody McSweeney May 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Feet on the street IS NOT for Towson Residents - we don't go. Does the chamber really believe that beer trucks and wine trucks help local business? I took photos from my balcony of the last three Friday evenings last year. There were not enough people to warrant closing Allegheny Avenue and disrupting local businesses.

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