It’s a simple thing really, a local music group getting together in a neighborhood park to perform on a sunny summer afternoon. Children play near the swing sets as families and neighbors stop to take in a rhythm that doesn’t thump from the deep distorted bass of a passing car. It’s an unremarkable scene, pleasant but usual in many towns and cities across the country. Yet in Camden, New Jersey what passes as the usual part of the urban soundscape is likely quite different from the neighborhood you grew up in. Instead of an open window conjuring images of children playing or backyard barbecues, police sirens or the occasional gunshot might break the calm in what many have called “the most dangerous city in America.” But a summer concert series in the park can do remarkable things, most notably offer a glimpse of what hopefully lies ahead for a city with a troubled past. And to help one forget the siren filled nights.

-Conor McFarland

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