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BreastFest 2010

Written by Sheri Crain
PA Music Scene
July 2010
I’m always looking for something “different” to do. I’m a wine buff; I’m a music buff. So when I was alerted that there was an event coming up at the Spyglass Ridge Winery in Sunbury, I figured it was right up my alley. Boy was I right!

They called it “Breastfest 2010” and the lineup was intriguing. Food, wine and great music was enjoyed by all. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Spyglass Ridge Winery - what a beautiful setting those folks shared with all of us! As I was driving, of course… doubting my GPS system, I was amazed at what a beautiful area this winery is in. Nestled just outside of the community of Sunbury – there was plenty of parking, beautiful tents set up and the smell of the fresh roasted pork was amazing not to mention the array of wine that was available.

What a great cause to support. The “Breastest Friends for Life” team who are participating in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3 Day Walk organized and pulled off this great event to include T-shirts, bracelets, etc. for sale. There was tasty food provided by Libby’s Pig Pickins Catering and wine tasting by Spyglass Ridge Winery. Did I mention they were making wine slushies?

The line up went something like this:

  1. Drum Circle with Hope Kopf (attendees were encouraged to bring a drum to participate)
  2. Annie Clark and the Divine Divas
  3. Catmanstu
  4. Barn Cats
  5. Frank Wicher Band
  6. J.T. Thompson
  7. Ann Kerstetter and the All Star Band of Cronies
  8. Guest Appearance by V.E. Paul

We arrived a bit late and missed the start of the line-up which was Annie Clark and the Divine Divas. What we arrived to was nothing shy of the greatness that is some of our local music talent and I can only hope to catch Annie Clark and the Divine Divas another time.

On stage was Catmanstu with some rather eclectic sounds… a bit of blues, jazzy tones and just good old down home fun music. Being a blues/jazz fan, I was particularly intrigued by (and admittedly skeptical of at first) the use of a Mandolin in this genre. I furrowed my brow but found myself innately amazed at how good it sounded. The treat that came afterward put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Ann Kerstetter took the stage with them and used her wickedly entertaining music improv skills to create a musical story. Her creativity was amazing, right down to the fake foreign accent.

We decided to explore a bit and I am so glad we did. They had set up an “Acoustics Tent” inside the winery. As my friend Gina and I were exploring the beautiful architecture of the winery building (where she took bad photos of my posterior – we’ll talk about that later), we noticed a few musicians starting to gather. We were especially intrigued by one young (very young), handsome gentleman who was picking at his guitar and crooning some random key notes, lines from songs, and more. A gentleman (John Sweeney) with a large case of harmonicas joined him. WHAT a treat we were in for! Being a fan of the harp, I was mesmerized by the music these two seemingly strangers were creating. A third musician (Christopher LaRose) also joined in playing the guitar. After an hour or so of listening to these acoustic treats, we returned to hear more of the bands playing in the main tent. Little did I know what was to come!

Low and behold, the strikingly handsome young man was V.E. Paul – a 17-year-old musical prodigy. I have to admit that I don’t recall much of what he was actually singing but rather concentrating on the way he was singing it. Now having a son who is also musically inclined, I pay special attention to the fact that these are young people who are so full of talent, energy and life that to see them play with such a high caliber of ease is amazing to me. It’s refreshing. V.E. sang of politics and relationships, adding such a style of his own that I can honestly say I sat on the bare ground and simply soaked in all that this young musician had to offer. He asked for members of various musical groups to join him including some young musical talent like Michi Egger, a 16-year-old female guitarist with a nice blend of various forms of music. Now, I know I’ve told you I love a good harp but I love a great saxophone just as much! (Someday in a future article, I’ll share with you about my desire for my son to make the sax one of his many musical instruments).

V.E.’s performance on stage was nothing short of phenomenal. I would never have imagined that someone so young could belt out the sounds he does nor would I have imagined that those young fingers could bleed such interesting sounds from his guitar. It was a fantastic experience to say the least. His bio reads a bit like an over-studious high-school student but after hearing him perform, it lends itself to the type of ambitious young man he is musically. Please don’t miss him if you ever see his name on a line up, you’ll regret it.

Unfortunately, time was flying and with other commitments, the day ended for us before Ann Kerstetter brought out her “All Star Band of Cronies”. Looking at the roster and the description of their genre, I’m sorry I missed it but I certainly won’t the next time! Also while my hope was to observe and hear the Giant Jam, because it’s where I feel you see some of the best musical talent being at ease with their peers, we did not get to experience that either. Nonetheless, I am sure it was superb.

What a day out. What an incredible experience. What a great cause. What a great setting. I’m looking forward to hearing many of these musicians again. Kudos to Ann Kerstetter and the Breastest Friends group for putting on such a fantastic day with some great local musicians. It’s these “off the beaten path” events that I love about our area.

Wish me luck as I travel with Gina this week to see the Dave Matthews Band. Or should I say wish the Dave Matthews Band luck as they encounter us?