Alexis Dawdy plays her violin on the streets of Lansing, Mich.
Alexis Dawdy plays her violin on the streets of Lansing, Mich. Scott Pohl/WKAR
Alex Dawdy performs a waltz by Jay Ungar.
All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.
"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."
Dawdy says she's encountered nothing but hospitality from her neighbors in Lansing.
"I have people that come by every day — there's one gentleman in particular," she says. "If my life was a story, he would be my guardian angel. He's brought me things like books, coins from different countries, maple syrup that he made himself — and every day he tips me very generously, between $8 and $30."
It's not just individuals. Dawdy says Lansing's businesses have supported her just as much.
"I honestly think that the business district of downtown Lansing is just the perfect environment for what I do," she says. "Weston's Kewpee is actually an incredibly old restaurant, and many people consider it a staple of what Lansing is. ... Every day, a girl from Kewpee's brings me out a Coke to help keep me cool. And every day, Mr. Weston comes out and tips me a dollar, which is pretty great — to know that they like me here so much that they actually help take care of me."