Friday, June 6, 2014


My New Year’s resolution this year was to either do something new or go somewhere new every month, and so far, I’ve managed to keep it. I’m pretty sure it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept.

So Memorial Day weekend, in keeping with my resolution, I went somewhere new that was only ten minutes from my house.

That Saturday morning, my friend Emily happened to mention she had gone to the Shire Vocal Summit in Pembroke Village the night before and was going again that night. She added, “Vinx and all of the entertainers were amazing. You should come with us tonight. My treat! Gotta rush!  I’ll talk to you later.”

I honestly had no clue what she was talking about. The last time I’d heard the word “shire,” it was in Lord of the Rings and was where the Hobbits lived – and I was pretty sure there weren’t any Hobbits in Pembroke. And what was a Vinx? Something Egyptian…like a sphinx, perhaps?

Curiosity made me rush to my computer and do an online search for Vinx to see if I could find out anything beforehand. I learned he actually was Vinx De’Jon Parrette, a talented musician, singer, songwriter, percussionist and professor at Berklee College of Music, who had released no fewer than 15 CDs and toured or recorded with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sting, Cher, Herbie Hancock and Sheryl Crow, among others. And if that weren’t enough, he also was a former Olympic athlete. This Vinx guy obviously was no slouch.

I also learned that he and his partner, Jennifer Lambert, had transformed the old Town-Line Printing building on Main Street in Pembroke Village into the Dreamsicle Arts and Entertainment Group, complete with a recording studio and soundstage. There, they hold workshops, songwriting sessions and provide mentorships for artists of all kinds. And they frequently spotlight the artists’ talents by holding performance showcases, which are open to the public.

And one of these showcases was where I agreed to meet my friend Emily and her significant other, Dan, that night.

The last time I’d been in the building, it still was a print shop, so I was surprised when we entered and it looked more like someone’s living room – sofas, coffee tables, artwork on the walls, and a big table of food and drinks. The only thing that distinguished it from a typical living room was the recording equipment.

We immediately were greeted by Jennifer, who made me feel as if I were a long-lost friend coming to visit. She introduced me to dozens of people, none of whose names I could remember 30 seconds later, other than Vinx’s (heck, I’m lucky if I even can remember my own name on most days). Jennifer then offered me fudge and brownies.

Instantly I knew I was going to like these people.

I wandered into another larger room where there was a colorfully lit stage with folding chairs set up in rows facing it. A drop-dead gorgeous guy was introduced to me (can’t remember his name, either). He smiled and said, “Hi! Are you a musician?”

“Not unless you count ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ that I played on my violin when I was nine,” I said.

He told me he was a guitarist. I tried to keep him talking for as long as possible, just so I could stare at him…even though I was pretty sure I was old enough to be his grandmother.

The overhead lights dimmed and the stage lit up. Emily, Dan and I took our seats as Pam, the emcee, took the stage. She was wearing knee-high boots covered with so much glitter, when the spotlights hit them, they nearly burned out my corneas. She had a terrific sense of humor and immediately warmed up the audience.

Then the performances began. First there was Flynn, a talented singer/songwriter with a thick Irish accent. His original song, “Human,” was sung by Cher in the film “Stuck on You.”

He began by singing a song called, "White."

"It used to be called White Horses," he explained, "but with my accent, everyone thought I was saying White Arses, so now I just call it 'White,' to be safe!"

He was followed by Emily Musolino from Durham, North Carolina, who sounded amazingly like Janis Joplin. And then there was Kenny Wesley, nicknamed the “Soulful Nerd,” who could sing in more than four octaves. One minute he was singing from somewhere down in his toes, and the next, high enough to shatter glass. His rendition of “Amazing Grace,” was indeed amazing. I don’t think it would be easy for any singer to duplicate his rendition of the song.

Following Kenny, Adam Falcon’s vocals and powerful guitar playing inspired a lot of people in the audience to get up and dance, especially when Vinx, playing a hand-drum, joined him onstage.

The woman seated in front of me really got into the music. She bopped her head, shook her shoulders and waved her arms in hula-dancer types of gestures. And then she stood up and wiggled…a lot. I decided to remain in my seat, but only because I thought the last thing the people behind me needed to see was my rear end wiggling. It probably would have blocked out their entire view of the stage.

The evening ended with a jam session where several of the artists seated in the audience got onstage and added something different and personal to the song, “Ain’t no Sunshine.” Somehow, they all blended together perfectly.

Afterwards, the guests mingled with the performers, enjoyed refreshments and were able to purchase CDs, if they wished. I told Emily Musolino I thought she sounded just like Janis Joplin. She smiled, rolled up her sleeve and showed me her tattoo of Janis. Then she said, “But fortunately I don’t drink a fifth of Southern Comfort, like Janis did, before I go onstage!”

Vinx thanked me for coming and said, “In the future, I’m hoping to draw more people here, especially the locals. Maybe I can get my friend, Sinbad, to come perform here sometime.”

“Sinbad, the famous comedian?” I asked.

He nodded.

I didn’t get home until nearly midnight. I hadn’t been out that late on a Saturday night in about ten years. My husband used to like to go out to eat at 3 in the afternoon and be home and in his pajamas by 6. 

So now I can add going to the 2014 Shire Vocal Summit in Pembroke Village to my list of “new things” I did, in keeping with my New Year’s resolution.

Do I plan to go again?  I’ve already added my name to Dreamsicle Arts’ mailing list so I can be notified of upcoming performances.

And the next new thing I want to try is zip-lining. That is, if I can find someone who’s brave enough to go with me (and who won’t lecture me about being too old and putting myself at risk for a broken hip!).



1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for being part of the fun Sally! We do indeed hope you'll be back soon.... Music is meant to be shared! And for anyone who wants the website link here it is: