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Stellar performances light up the night at Pemi-Baker Literacy benefit

Ann Stark, Cathy Bentwood and Diane Arsenault get into the beat during performances at the Pemi-Baker Literacy Musical Treats and Sweets benefit event last Friday night at the Common Man. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
November 09, 2011
PLYMOUTH—Each year, just as the brilliance of fall colors fades into muted embers, ushering out the ebbing warmth of the closing year, and darkness descends earlier each evening to signal the season of hibernating slumber, Pemi Baker Literacy comes to the rescue, gathering together the hottest local musical acts and setting the November night on fire on stage at the Common Man.

This year, the annual benefit event, formerly known as the Talent Revue, now renamed Musical Treats and Sweets, provided a truly stellar lineup of top rate local entertainment, served up with a delectable dessert buffet, tea and coffee. If that doesn't perk you up, nothing will.

The annual event raises money to support the work of Pemi-Baker Literacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving literacy skills in our community. Pemi-Baker Literacy volunteers provide free one-on-one tutoring to adults in reading, math, writing, GED Preparation, English as a Second Language and Basic Computer Skills.

"As much as we enjoy all the incredible local musicians and performers each year, we know that the really talented individuals are our students," said Pemi-Baker Literacy Director Janet Cocchiaro during a lull in the festivities this past Friday night.

She thanked the audience and sponsors for supporting the truly heroic efforts of so many adult students from the community who gather the courage and dedication each year to work hard to get hat high school equivalency degree, or improve their skills so they can get a better job, or communicate more effectively with children or grandchildren, and participate more fully in community life.

The program for the evening got off to a great start with a reading from Pemi Literacy Board member and popular local poet, Kate Donahue, who was joined on stage at intervals throughout the evening by each of her fellow poets from Women of Words — better known as WOW, because they are fabulous, both on paper and in performance. Special kudos to Plymouth State's Liz Ahl, who happens to have won a prestigious award for "Readers Choice In Poetry" at the NH Literacy Awards on Friday night! Congratulations! Other powerful Women of Words Friday night included Jenny Highland, Suzanne Marshall, and Kathryn Drexel.

The audience was really revved up after hearing the high energy, acappella sounds of the Plymouth State University all male choir, Vocal Order, especially after indulging in all that caffeine, chocolate mousse and pie. The Plymouth State female acappella choir, Mixed Emotions, provided an equally enjoyable counterpoint during Act 2 of the evening.

Other contributors to the evening's success were the Plymouth Regional High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Will Gunn, and the emerging hit family band from Bristol, recently featured on New Hampshire chronicle, Kid Jazz, featuring the father, Tom, on guitar and vocals, and sons Michael, 17 years old, on clarinet; Jacob, 15 years old, on drums, and Adam, 12 years old, on bass guitar.

Sponsors of the event were Noyes Insurance, Elliott Insurance Consultants, Off Campus Rentals, Bridgewater Power and Meredith Village Savings Bank, as well as the Bristol Lions club, Community Guaranty Savings Bank and the Plymouth Rotary Club.

Special thanks go out to Dick Hage, Susan Wei, Waterville Valley Resort, Janice Maves and the Gallery at Red Gate Farm, the Homestead Restaurnat, Lisa Lundari and True Colors Print, Melcher &Prescott Insurance and Venture Print for donating door and raffle prizes.

To make a financial contribution, volunteer to tutor or to refer someone to the Pemi-Baker Literacy programs and services, call 536-2998. Pemi Baker Literacy office is located at the Whole Village Family Resource Center on Highland Street in Plymouth and services the Pemi Baker and Newfound region.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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