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Pack a Sack Lunch for the NELA Arts Council Brown Bag Concert Series

Danielle Kelley Tolbird
NELA Arts Council
The NELA Arts Brown Bag Concert Series is held in Anna Gray Noe Park in downtown Monroe, across from St. Francis Medical Center.

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is hosting the Brown Bag Concert Series each Wednesday in April at noon. The series showcases local musicians in a free outdoor setting open to the public.

At each of the concerts, there are cookies, lemonade, and water available in the park. Chairs are provided, but the public is also encouraged to bring picnic blankets or lawn chairs as well. This year's concert series has a food truck at each of the concerts.

"The whole point of the Brown Bag Concert Series is for our community to showcase local talent," says Georgia Street, a board member of the NELA Arts Council. "Sometimes you don't realize what you have in your own backyard." The concert series kicks off April 4 with Josh Madden, local music teacher and host of "The Set List" on KEDM Public Radio. Madden plays music influenced by artists such as Ray Charles, Elton John, and Eric Clapton.

April 11 features a three-generation set Landry Allen, his father Brian Allen, and his grandfather Danny Allen. Landry is a junior at West Ouachita High School. For the Brown Bag Concert Series, he is accompanied by Danny Allen on bass guitar and Brian Allen on drums, as well as Julian Jones on keyboard.

Rod Payne and Lisa Spann are performing show tunes, old standards, and easy listening April 18th. This performance leads up to the closing concert, which features Mason Granade. Granade is a local worship leader and performer who cites The Eagles, America and The Beatles as his influences.

"The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council seeks to nurture a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion, and education," says Danielle Kelley Tolbird, the Community Development Coordinator for the NELA Arts Council. "Arts education has proven over and over to have higher graduation rates, higher scores on standardized tests, and lower dropout rates. Unfortunately, in our rural parishes, more than half of our students don't have access to arts education, and that's a problem we're trying to fix."

More information about the NELA Arts Council and Brown Bag Concert Series is available here.