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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Samirah Evans Salutes Billie Holiday at FOMAG House-Concert Gala


Now in its 51st season, Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents its 8th Women in Music Celebration, a house-concert gala, beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. "This fundraiser for our concert season includes three important elements," explains administrator Joy Wallens-Penford. "

A bounty of good food, some delightful music, and a special Silent Auction offering numerous 2-for-1 tickets to arts events around the region and some special gift certificates. We help to promote other organizations' events and garner vital support for the many free and affordable programs we present in the community."

This season's Women in Music gala is set in a light-filled, post-and-beam Acorn Deck House on a picturesque forested site just a short drive from Living Memorial Park in West Brattleboro. The evening’s menu includes a light supper of appetite-satisfying hearty hors d’oeuvres, salads, and sides, with fruit and Vermont cheeses. A variety of wines from Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, Louisiana, and a number of other beverages are offered at no additional charge. An array of delectable desserts to be served after the concert have been donated by area restaurants, inns, bakeries, and private chefs.

The featured composer is singer-songwriter Billie Holiday, whom NPR's Jazz Profiles described as "a musician's musician with a radiant voice, an impeccable sense of time and subtle, often ironic delivery . . . the premier song stylist of the 20th century. Although the tragic myth of her life often precedes her, Lady Day endures, first and foremost, in the songs that are her ultimate legacy." In addition to sharing some of Billie's life story, Samirah Evans will interpret songs Billie wrote or made famous, with piano accompaniment by Ken Olsson.

Samirah Evans was a popular jazz and blues vocalist in New Orleans, where she first performed at its world-renowned Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1990 and was a regular fixture there for fourteen consecutive years. She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists. In 2006, after the devasation of Hurricane Katrina, Evans moved with her husband to his native Brattleboro and has been performing across New England with Her Handsome Devils for the past several years.

Under FOMAG sponsorship, Ken Olsson has given several recitals on the organization's Tracker Organ in The Organ Barn off Packer Corners Road in rural Guilford, is conductor of the Labor Day Weekend Festival orchestra, and accompanied wife Julie Olsson in a concert of arias and art songs in 2012. His last appearance in this Women in Music series was accompanying Jessica Gelter for the Edith Piaf program two years ago.

Besides a few choice restaurant and retail gift certificates, the gala's Silent Auction offers 2-for-1 tickets or series passes to performances offered in spring, summer, or fall by the Brattleboro Music Center, Vermont Jazz Center, Valley Classical Concerts (formerly Music at Deerfield), Vermont Theatre Co., New England Youth Theatre, Weston Playhouse, Latchis Theatre, Guilford Center Stage, Vermont Performance Lab, and Sandglass Theater, among other presenters. Attendees will be able to feed their passion for the performing arts at a bargain price, and FOMAG benefits from their winning bids.

Seating is limited, and reservations are required. The suggested donation is $35 per person. Please contact the FOMAG office at (802) 254-3600 or e-mail office@fomag.org for further details and reservations. Visit www.fomag.org for season calendar listings and other information.

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