Dallas is not necessarily known for its bustling street performance scene. But a nonprofit, called PULSE, is trying change that. They’re paying musicians to perform on bustling street corners in Dallas.
The sound of smooth jazz bounces off the buildings in Dallas’ Central Business District. During the early morning rush to get to work, it’s often nice to just take a seat and listen.
“It’s a universal language,” said Forrest Davis, a saxophonist. “Everyone speaks that same language.”
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As Davis performs at Pegasus Plaza, off Main Street, he knows the calming sound of his soprano saxophone can instantly put a smile on someone’s face.
“Most of the time I have my eyes closed, but when I open my eyes, and there is someone filming or smiling, they give me the thumbs up, that’s what I enjoy. Just a wave or something,” said Davis. “I like that interaction.”
Davis is a part of a group of street performers who get paid for their talents while lifting the spirits of more than 100,000 commuters who pass through Dallas’ CBD every day.
“We just decided, you know, what can we do in our local community downtown to brighten peoples day,” said David Wiley, PULSE founder and an attorney in Dallas.
“I don’t remember a time where street performing was really embraced by the city,” Wiley said.
Living in both downtown New Orleans and Nashville, he wanted to bring that same vibrancy and energy to the street experience of downtown Dallas.
“Sometimes, I don’t feel like it’s my best performance, but it always makes someone’s day,” Davis said.
As a full-time special education teacher in Dallas ISD, Davis knows the importance of making someone’s day feel special no matter what they might be going though.
“You never know the difference you’re making. Someone could be coming out of a tough meeting, and then they walk by, and you’re playing, and you might be playing their favorite song or something, so you never know,” Davis said.
Performers are paid $50 a set, and it’s all supported by donations to the nonprofit.
Starting in September, the street performers will be back at it again. They’re taking a break during the heat of the summer.
But, they’re always looking for a diverse group of performers, Wiley said.
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