Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 13 Songwriters' Concert at The Writer's Center

                                           Victoria Vox

The Writer's Center and Songwriters' Association of Washington
present a Songwriters Concert
with Victoria Vox, Cathy Fink, Kevin Dudley
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13, 2010
at The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD
Admission: $15
Register here

It's been a few years since our assistant director Sunil Freeman took a writing workshop, but he's recently been inspired to take two that we've offered in partnership with Songwriters' Association of Washington ("SAW").  He writes here about our March 13 Songwriters Concert and the workshops.

I had a great Writer’s Center moment a few months ago, when a long-time member of the Quotidian Theatre Company accosted me, astonished, to ask, “What in the world were Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer doing at The Writer’s Center yesterday?” The evening before she had been directing people to the box office for the company’s extraordinary production of Conor McPherson’s Port Authority. She’d seen Cathy and Marcy, two-time Grammy award winning musicians who have been pillars of the songwriting community for decades, hanging out at The Writer’s Center, sitting with others in a ragged circle. People were singing, playing guitars, and clearly having a great time.

The gathering she’d seen was an unexpected bonus for those of us who were fortunate enough to take Cathy and Marcy’s first songwriting workshop at The Writer’s Center in the fall. They had suggested the informal get together as a celebration to cap off the six-week workshop. Cathy is now leading a second workshop at the Center, and we're expanding our songwriting partnership with SAW by presenting a songwriters concert featuring Cathy, Victoria Vox, and Kevin Dudley. It takes place 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13 here at The Writer’s Center.

Here’s some information on the songwriters who will perform that evening:

Participants in Cathy’s winter songwriting workshop were fortunate to meet Victoria Vox when she lead a dynamic session with us one week when Cathy was out of town. Victoria had no idea, when she graduated from The Berklee College of Music with honors and a degree in songwriting, that one day she’d showcase her stellar mouth trumpet on the Jay Leno show. (We got to hear it briefly in the workshop when she constructed a jazzy solo over ukulele chording that sounded, to me, almost vaguely reminiscent of Django Reinhardt.)  She accompanies herself on the ukulele, tours over 125 dates a year and this year has the honor of being an Artist in Residence at the Music Center at Strathmore. She has shared the stage with and opened for Jackson Browne, Jane Weidlin (of the GoGo’s). Mindy Smith, Tom Chapin, and Jake Shimabukuro. Vox has also been awarded runner-up for “My Darlin’ Beau” (Jumping Flea) and First Place for “C’est Noye” (from her 2008 album, Chameleon) in the International Acoustic Music Awards.

Cathy Fink is a prolific songwriter with 2 Grammy Awards, 11 Grammy nominations and 50 awards from the Washington Area Music Association in bluegrass, folk and children’s music. Cathy and her music partner, Marcy Marxer, maintain an active tour schedule as folk/roots/country/swing artists and children’s/family performers. They have worked in the studio with a wide range of musicians, including Tom Paxton, Si Kahn, Pete Seeger, Riders in the Sky, Brave Combo, Mariachi Los Camperos, Mike Seeger, Patsy Montana, Pete Kennedy, and Ysaye Barnwell. Cathy’s song “Names” about the AIDS Memorial Quilt was recorded by over 20 artists in several countries and won the Mid Atlantic Song Contest in the folk category. Cathy has won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and International Songwriting Contest. She writes songs in many styles for listeners of all ages. Cathy describes the latest Grammy nominated CD,  Banjo to Beatbox, in which she and Marcy collaborated with hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon: "We combined Appalachian sounds with urban sounds, hip-hop rhymes with traditional stories, and created a whole new sound."

Kevin Dudley sings about love, death, diners and most everything in between. His appearances at local open mics has built a grassroots following that made his fellow SAW (Songwriters Association of Washington) members all recommend him highly for this show. Former front man/guitarist with Atomic Hillbillies, WAMA and SAW member, Kevin received a Silver Award in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriter’s Contest with “Texarkana Diner.”

The concert is co-sponsored by The Writer’s Center and Songwriters' Association of Washington.

Looking Ahead

We look forward to offering a range of songwriting workshops in partnership with SAW in the future. To date our participants have included relative newcomers and singer-songwriters with years of experience as soloists and band members. Some of them, who composed tunes before writing lyrics, brought guitars to the workshop and performed their "submissions" as full-fledged songs. I only brought drafts of lyrics, but felt welcome in the group. (It helped that Cathy set some of those lyrics to music.)  As I mentioned in Carousel, if I ever seriously return to studying piano, having had very rudimentary lessons as a child, I'll title that chapter of my memoir "Re-murdering Chopin." Cathy writes of her experiences in the workshop: "I feel very lucky to 'teach' at The Writer's Center. Really, I am simply sharing some of my experiences while guiding writers to find the best in their work." If you'd like updates on future programs please visit our website, email us at, and ask to be put on our email list.

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