'City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,' as sung in a skyway

Larry Havluck sings in the Minneapolis skyways.
Larry Havluck sings and plays guitar in one of the skyways leading to the Hennepin County Government Center most weekdays.
Brandt Williams / MPR News

Whether you call them street performers, buskers or troubadours, musicians have worked the world's streets for centuries, playing and singing for passersby and their spare change. It only makes sense that in a climate like ours, practitioners of this ancient art form would take advantage of a modern convenience and move into the skyways.

One such musician, Larry Havluck, has established himself as a fixture in the skyways leading to the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. Singing both original songs and covers of popular standards, Havluck has lent his distinctive voice to the urban soundtrack for more than 30 years.

Havluck's guitar case is lined with gifts.
Larry Havluck 's guitar case is lined with figurines that friends have given him.
Brandt Williams / MPR News

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style," he sings from his perch above those sidewalks. "In the air there's a feeling of Christmas."

At this time of year, he hauls out his repertoire of a half-dozen Christmas songs — "Silver Bells," "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" among them — in anticipation of a seasonal surge in income. He calls it his "holiday bump." The bump is important, because Havluck has no other job.

MPR News paid him a holiday-season visit.

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