Chosen Bean concerts bring the music

September 21, 2018

The Chosen Bean series is brewing some tasty tunes in four fall concerts at the Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA). The first, on Saturday, Sept. 22, features Chuck Brodsky, billed as “the Mark Twain of folk musicians.” He’s played international venues like The British Shrewsbury Folk Festival, and his song “We are Each Other’s Angels” was recorded by Kathy Mattea. His often-irreverent folk music, featuring guitar-picking, singing, and story-telling, focuses on everything from baseball to the frustrations of commuting.

Joanne Martin, the co-chair of the CCA’s Performing Arts Committee and a member of its board, has curated three other shows for the fall series, including the music of JohnSmith (Oct. 13), Sara Routh (Nov. 17), and Friction Farm (Dec. 1). Martin hopes the concerts will “tickle your ears, challenge your mind, make you laugh and perhaps shed a few tears” while “offering insights to a better world through music.” She took the time to answer a few questions about the series for 507 readers.

1. How did the Chosen Bean concert series get started?

Martin: The series was begun in 2011 by Tom Hilgren, a former Board member, and Joel Young, the Chatfield City Clerk. When Chatfield’s Chosen Bean Coffee House closed, Tom and Joel wanted to continue the coffeehouse music tradition that had sprung up there and so the Chosen Bean Concert Series at Chatfield Center for the Arts was born.

2. What can you tell me about the space these concerts are held in? how do Chosen Bean shows unfold?

Martin: Unlike most venues with live music, attending a Chosen Bean concert at the Chatfield Center for the Arts is more like being in the welcoming comfort of a friend’s living room. The Center is “staffed” with dedicated volunteers who enjoy greeting newcomers and old friends to music events.

The Chosen Bean shows are held in the American Legion Room, named for the local American Legion chapter who generously funded the renovation. The concert room is a comfortable size, more like a large living room than a large venue, and the audience has a more intimate, music-up-close kind of experience.

Patrons have a choice of sitting around the stage within a few feet of the artist, or at tables cabaret-style. Doors open at 6:45, providing time for folks to socialize and visit with fellow concert-goers and enjoy beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks from the concession stand. Complimentary coffee is provided through the generous sponsorship of Chatfield’s Cabin Coffee Company. Once the concert starts at 7:30, the room falls quiet and attention is fixed on the artist performing that night.

3. How would you describe the upcoming Chosen Bean performers JohnSmith, Sara Routh, and Friction Farm?

Martin: JohnSmith is the regional favorite audiences want to hear again and again. He tours nationally and internationally, but always comes home to his Midwest roots. Currently residing in Wisconsin, JohnSmith is like putting on your favorite faded jeans. He sings of love of life, family, friends, and you can’t help but feel that love as he shares it with you in song.

Sara Routh hails from Iowa, another regional artist, adding variety to the lineup with her acoustic, jazzy feel. Friction Farm represents another line change, a modern-folk duo, husband and wife team who combine storytelling with humor, poking a little fun at their marital “bliss” as traveling troubadours.

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