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'Most people don't know I exist,' says world champion autoharpist providing pandemic escape from her front porch

Betty Scott and fellow Dallas Folk Music Society members get together to play at least twice a week in Scott's neighborhood.

DALLAS, Texas — There are lots of reasons to be stressed right now. It feels like 2020 is undefeated at the present moment. 

Navigating a pandemic and turning America's eyes inside to strongly address racial inequality is something no one expected to shoulder this year. 

And sometimes, we just need a break from our ever-evolving days. 

That's where Betty Scott's front yard comes into the mix. 

Scott is a retired Dallas ISD educator and world champion musician, winning first in the International Autoharp Championship in both 2009 and 2016.  

Incredibly, she's self-taught and learned the instrument following her final days with Dallas ISD. 

RELATED: Fort Worth family entertains neighbors with social distancing street concerts

Twice a week, she shows off her skills on her porch in her east Dallas neighborhood. 

And many either attend or just stop on their walks to listen. 

Oh, and did I mention? Scott plays happily, with a beer in her hand. 

"Learning the autoharp," Scott said. "It was like the heavens opening and music just landing in my lap." 

'Most people don't know I exist. I play in front of my fireplace and that's about it.' 

Scott is a member of the Dallas Folk Music Society. 

She's usually joined by fellow members Drake Rogers, on the guitar, and Eleanor Wheat on the autoharp. 

Before the pandemic, the trio usually played a show once a month. Scott got the idea to do frequent yard concerts when she saw videos of people in Europe playing music together from the balconies of their homes early on in the pandemic. 

RELATED: North Texas musician, entrepreneur team up for pop-up concerts outside Dallas apartments as pandemic continues

The group starts their set with the National Anthem and other patriotic songs to honor medical professionals and other essential employees. 

"I know they probably don't know we're playing for them, but deep in my heart I hope they do," Scott said. 

The rest of the songs that follow are usually popular folk tunes. Sometimes requests come from the crowd. 

Scott is older, which makes her part of the more vulnerable population in the pandemic. She said she's barely left her house since late February, adding that the impromptu concerts keep her balanced. 

"For those of us in our 70s and 80s, this is very stressful," Scott said. "I don't really think anyone can be sure of anything right now." 

"This keeps me sane. I was extremely stressed today and then I realized that we were playing tonight," Scott continued with a laugh. 

What Scott doesn't know is that she provides an escape for others with her music. 

Those who take a seat in her front yard get to relax and zone out for the price of free.

Scott notices too. 

"It's like five or ten minutes and then all the worries are gone," Scott said. "You can deal with those later." 

Who would have thought? 

Finding a world-renowned musician tucked inside a Dallas neighborhood? 

If you see it, it's sort of like missing a train in NYC's subway because someone playing an instrument in the depths of those tunnels is just too good to not stop and listen to. 

If Scott lives on your street, consider yourself lucky — you have an escape twice a week. 

"I just play for the joying of playing because I can," Scott said. "Same reason somebody climbs a mountain right? Because they can." 

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