The Nicest Place in Delaware: Edgemoor Terrace Neighborhood in Wilmington

NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2020 FINALIST
"A Concert Series in Your Living Room"

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Two musicians take to Facebook to bring live music to a world where concerts are forbidden.

During a normal year, Corina Amalfitano’s life is divided into two seasons: hibernation season and concert season. From May through October, the music fan would spend almost every weekend at a live venue. So, on top of everything else that COVID-19 ruined, Amalfitano rued how the pandemic took away live music.

Enter the Family Jewells. We’re not talking about a crown dripping in diamonds or a cache of gold and rubies. The Family Jewells is Candice and Justin Jewell, a husband and wife acoustic guitar and vocals duo who go by that name when they perform. Amalfitano and the Jewells live just a few blocks away from one another in the Edgemoor Terrace neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city. Like Amalfitano, the Jewells were suffering from concert withdrawal, but on the other side of the microphone.

In mid-March, the Jewells posted on Nextdoor that they would be hosting a concert on Facebook Live—not from one of their favorite local venues, which were all shuttered for the time being, but from their living room. Nearly 1,000 viewers tuned in for the event, many “applauding” and leaving song requests in the comments.

“People would use the livestreams as a way to talk to each other as if they were at a venue,” says Candice.

After the first smash-hit livestream, Candice and Justin decided to do another one the following Saturday from a different room in their house—this time, the dining room. And then another the following Saturday from a different room. They performed on Facebook every Saturday until they ran out of rooms.

porch concertCourtesy Corina Amalfitano
The Family Jewells, from a safe social distance.

The Jewells then took their show to the back porch, one of only two “rooms” they hadn’t livestreamed from, careful not to play too late and risk disturbing neighbors. That night, Amalfitano went out for a walk and was delighted to hear something she had missed so much: live music. She wrote to the Jewells on Facebook: “Wow! I wish I could’ve seen you guys.” So, next Saturday, with the permission of their immediate neighbors, the Jewells streamed their big debut on the front porch, the last “room” in the house to get the virtual concert treatment. This time, the cyberworld and the real world collided—beautifully.

As the concert started, an audience of passersby on their evening walks and neighborhood kids playing in the street began spreading out across their yard to watch in person. “It was cool to see the reaction on Facebook, but we forgot what it was like to have real applause,” says Candice, “even the people on Facebook Live were commenting how cool it was to hear applause on our end.”

Now, the concerts are a regular fixture in Edgemoor Terrace. One six-year-old boy requested a Post Malone song the Jewells didn’t know: Classics like “Purple Rain” and “Rhythm of the Night” are usually a little more their jam. Fret not—they learned it for him and played it the next Saturday. Another night, the Jewells’ neighbor across the street opened the window to listen from inside, bringing another “room” to the virtual/real concert series, and bringing everyone within earshot, whether live or livesteaming, closer together.

“Everyone was respecting social distancing but still able to enjoy something and feel like a community,” says Amalfitano.

The Nomination

We have been blessed with neighborhood musicians who have been putting on concerts from their home. They Livestream the set, responding to comments between songs. Last week they performed on their front porch. Neighbors came out with camp chairs and masks (sitting far apart to maintain social distancing). Music feeds the soul and these neighbors served an hour and a half feast.

I’ve always felt this to be a kind neighborhood but not close knit. Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed on walks around the neighborhood people wave more, speak pleasantries more and so many neighbors over the next door app have reached out offering assistance to the elderly and high risk neighbors. It’s been a joy to feel the community more than ever.

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