LAUREL CANYON, Calif. – With people across SoCal and beyond under stay-at-home a Los Angeles neighborhood with a storied musical history has become the scene of live music played from a front porch every Saturday night.

The porch front concerts are performed by music teacher, Bill Bonk, accompanied by his guitar, and his 13-year old daughter Jasmine. 

What You Need To Know

  • Music teacher leads porch concerts Saturdays in Laurel Canyon

  • Accompanied by his daughter, and a neighbor

  • It's their way of connecting with Laurel Canyon's musical history

  • They hope to continue concerts when pandemic ends

" I can't believe I'm up there singing harmony with my daughter, that's every dad's dream, every musician dad's dream," said Bill. 

A multi-instrumentalist who once toured with big name acts, he now teaches music at the Episcopal School of Los Angeles.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to stay home his wife suggested that he play music for his neighbors.

While it's easy to focus on the negatives of the virus and what you can't do, Bill saw this extra time as a silver lining.  

"I guess it's a cliché, but the Chinese have that character for crisis that's the same one as opportunity," said Bill. "So really I see this as an opportunity in many ways." 

While front porch concerts have popped up elsewhere during the pandemic, this neighborhood concert has some musical history woven into its fabric.

Laurel Canyon is steeped in the history of Southern California's music scene. In the 1960's the area became famous as home to many of L.A.'s top rock and folk musicians, people like Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills & Nash all lived and made music in the canyon. 

"So they would have a thing where they would 'drop the needle,' and they would drop the needle as a tradition" So they would say, 'Saturday night, 7 o'clock, open your window, we're going to drop the needle on Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones,' and everyone would do it at the same time. So the idea is that the whole canyon would be filled with music," said Bill. 

In some ways, this is Bill's way of dropping the needle on a Saturday night, playing a set list that includes many tunes with ties to the area, accompanied by his daughter, and a socially-distanced neighbor.

"I've been still trying to play music as much as possible and now that I have the time to, it's been really good for me," said Jasmine Bonk.

The father-daughter duo practices every day together, so when it's time for the show on Saturday, they hope their neighbors feel less isolated.

"You feel the longing from the neighborhood, and from the people outside like this is so meaningful for them, like wow, I feel like I'm part of something again," said Bill.  

After all their years spent living in Laurel Canyon, it took a global pandemic to come up with the idea to transform their front porch into a concert venue. 

But it's something they hope to continue, weaving their thread into the fabric of the area's rich musical history.