WOW Hall Membership Party: Osprey Flies the Nest, Wildflowers, Kurt Caltin, Ben Hamilton

December 9, 2017 - 7:00pm

By Bob Fennessy, CCPA Membership Coordinator & Publicist

On Saturday, December 9, the Community Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its 42nd Anniversary at the WOW Hall Membership Party, featuring entertainment by the band Osprey Flies The Nest, bluegrass combo Wildflowers, singer/songwriter Kurt Catlin and cello/loop artist Ben Hamilton.  As usual, this event will feature food and beverages prepared by some of Lane County’s best restaurants and suppliers!

As you may know, my Country Fair home is the Community Village, where I have had the honor of scheduling the stage entertainment for some time now.  This year, at the urging of Council member and Coalessence guide Oblio Stroyman, I scheduled a new band without hearing them.  So I was as surprised as everyone else to be swept off my feet by Osprey Flies The Nest and their original music.

These songs will make you feel wonderful!  Utilizing a variety of styles, Osprey has created anthems for the 21st Century.  This music is so positive that it will pull you up out of the deepest doldrums and actually give you hope for the future!  Can we still all get together and love one another right now?  Osprey says yes.

Osprey Flies The Nest plays Visionary Folk Pop with conscious lyrics and grooves that make you move.  Sultry, catchy and contagious, they serve up originals by genderqueer lead singer Osprey. Penetrating, relevant lyrics make this magnetic Active-ism For Dancers.  Based in Eugene, this group soars with an instantly likeable sound, contemporary vibes, and a song circle spirit.

Osprey (they/them pronouns) writes quirky and authentic lyrics about pressing issues such as mental health, consent, gender identity, and our relationship with the planet.  Their catchy tunes stay in your head for days, but it’s all good because they hint at answers that are relevant to now.  At live shows, people often sing along to the contagiously danceable tunes.

"The music started bursting out of me ten years ago in a sudden, visceral, mental health crisis, during which I slipped into a trance-like state and melodies began coming through,” recalls Osprey,  “Since then, I’ve channeled this madness into the alchemy of songwriting, which has birthed me into the artist I am today."

In 2015, Osprey began sharing their music “a cappella” in and around Eugene.  Rich Glauber, a local guitar player, was intrigued and offered to help.  It seemed an unlikely pair: a queer 30-year-old songwriter and a music man in his 60’s; but through their collaboration, the essence of each song came alive.  A year and 15-20 tunes later, they were ready to expand.  In Fall 2016 they invited a handful of musicians together to jam in Rich’s living room, and Osprey Flies The Nest was born. 

Osprey is joined by Azalea Bradley (keyboards), Matt Kaplowitz (drums), Brianna Martinelli (guitar) and Garrett Davis (bass), all of whom contribute to the creative, collaborative process that is Osprey Flies The Nest.

“This new artist takes on some of our thorniest topics: consent and communication in relationships, body concept and self-love, psychiatric drugging, and others; writes intelligent and penetrating lyrics pointing to solutions, and then makes those lyrics absolutely rock.” says WOW Hall member Joseph Newton.

Wildflowers, a bluegrass group that formed in 2013, performs throughout Lane County.  The band plays music ranging from traditional bluegrass and country/western to the songs of The Grateful Dead.  Additional musicians and vocalists often join the core trio.

Recent venues for Wildflowers include the Daffodil Festival in Junction City, the Wolf Shadow Arena and Rainsong Vineyard Artisan Show and Sale in Cheshire, retirement centers such as the Waterford Grand, Willamette Oaks and Sheldon Park Assisted Living in Eugene, Alvadore days in Alvadore, the Pizza Research Institute and Friendly Street Café, and Tsunami Bookstore.

Machiko Shirai, Bob James and John Jackson founded the Wildflowers.

Machiko (guitar and vocals) was an avid bluegrass fan in Japan before she came to the US to study linguistics at the University of Oregon.  She met Bob at an introductory Chinese class, but it wasn’t until ten years later that they decided to get together to play music.

Bob (mandolin and vocals) is a rock-n-roll drummer and mandolin player who was encouraged by Machiko to try bluegrass music.  So inspired, Bob has now composed some of his own bluegrass songs; at least one will be included in the Wildflowers playlist.

John (bass guitar and vocals) is a professional heavy metal player from Idaho.  He and Bob are old friends, so when John moved to Eugene Bob urged him to join Wildflowers.

Tom Hafvold on banjo is the latest addition to the act.

Kurt Catlin has been a powerhouse go-to guitarist and bassist since graduating high school in Eugene. His focus is primarily Americana based genres including rock, jazz, blues and folk, but also classical guitar and world beat. His first major band Sun Runner recorded an album and toured around the NW headlining and opening shows for The Renegade Saints, Jambay, Colobo and The Strangers among other NW favorites.

Kurt went on to obtain a BA in Music at the University of Oregon School of Music in Guitar and Bass, where he focused on jazz and vocals. He fronted on guitar and vocals the blues-funk band What Yo Mama Warned You About, and played bass in The Olem Alves Band and Gas Pedal. He also produced and coordinated the 31st and 32nd Willamette Valley Folk Festivals, and hip-hop artist Nelly at Mac Court.

After graduation Kurt moved to NYC and played and recorded in several rock and jazz bands including the progressive rock band Rare, The Everyone Orchestra, Von Lmo (at the legendary CBGB), and with R&B jazz singer Rae Ragland.  While in New York, he taught guitar, bass and vocals at Rudy’s Music, and Maggio Music in Brooklyn for three years.  

After NYC, Kurt’s interests in Eastern Medicine and martial arts took him to Seoul, South Korea where he formed his own funk rock band Somah Dat, and was in both an Allman Brother’s Band tribute and a David Bowie tribute band.  He also was the guitarist in the pop-rock band Pentasonic, and the guitarist for the award winning hip-hop-rock band Pinnacle & the Antidote. He has performed in Japan, Taiwan, France, Mexico, and Spain as well as all over the United States.

Since returning to the USA, Kurt has been busy with several musical projects. He teaches guitar, is an Instructor at Music’s Edge Rock Camp at the historic WOW Hall, does solo acoustic performances, was the guitarist for the hard rock band SITFU, and is currently the lead guitarist/vocals for Haywire (country/rock). He has also done guest performances as the lead guitarist for Amy Clawson and other regional artists in various genres.

Kurt is currently working on a solo album, a bluegrass mass, rotates in with I-Chele and the Circle of Light, and singer Pheobe Bloom. His virtuosic and lyrical guitar playing has gained him many fans, and his songs run the gamut from deep introspection to universal themes to humorous rumpuses that you cannot help but get you up and boogie. His singing is powerful and passionate with magnetism that pulls you in wanting more.

Speaking to you in first person again, I am back at the Country Fair, only it’s long past Osprey’s set, long past the end of the Midnight Show, and this 65-year-old man is still determined to stay up all night.  I’m cruising the eight and, passing the Hilltop Bakery, I spotted a Masked Man with a cello holed up in a corner.  He played a few strings and then played it back on a loop thing, then started to play a melody along with it.  It was beautiful!  I sat and watched as he did it again and again.  “This must be someone from a big city orchestra somewhere just here for the Fair,” I thought to myself.

The next day, when trading stories about ‘what was the greatest thing you saw last night’, I talked about the cello player and wondered who he was.  Surprise!  Surprise!  I was informed that is Community Villager Ben Hamilton who plays in the local bluegrass band Dirty Dandelions.

Ben has graciously agreed to kick off the party with his cello-loop magic.  Enjoy!

Last year eighty-six area restaurants and other businesses agreed to contribute prepared food, beverages and other items for a buffet-style dinner.  This year we hope to see a similar number of restaurants participating.  Expect to find two rows of serving tables covered with breads, salads, hot and cold main dishes, pizzas, snacks and desserts.  New dishes are presented throughout the event, so you don’t need to come early to get a great meal. 

Bu popular demand, this year’s Sweet Life cake will be vegan; I ordered chocolate with a Royal Blueberry topping.  You are going to have to wait for it; cutting around 9:15 pm.

            The basement will also be offering an assortment of nibbles as well as some special deals on adult beverages that have been donated for the occasion.

            The Community Center for the Performing Arts was incorporated to save the Woodmen of the World Hall from demolition and keep it available to the community.  On December 10, 1975, the WOWATHON began with live entertainment 24 hours a day for five days in order to raise a down payment.  Today, the Hall remains community-owned and democratically operated.  The organization enjoys a broad base of community support, as demonstrated by the members list published in this issue.  Hundreds of others have completed training as WOW Hall volunteers.

            Each year around this time the Membership Party serves to thank the supporters of the CCPA, a nonprofit (501c3) arts organization.  Admission to the Membership Party is free for members (members note: If your mailing label reads “This is your party ticket” your membership is current; you don’t need the label to get in but it makes it faster).  Memberships are available at the door for $15 to $35 or more (members are encouraged to bring guests at a cost of $12 for adults, $6 for ages 6-11; five and under free). 

Doors open at 7:00 pm, Ben Hamilton at 7:15, Kurt Catlin around 8:00, Wildflowers at 8:45 and Osprey Flies the Nest at 9:30. Expect a few welcoming words from CCPA Board Chair Aaron Dietrich, and at some point I’m going to thank all of the donors and ask your help in putting away some tables and chairs so we have a dancefloor.

To become a supporting member of the WOW Hall, or to check your membership status, visit the office or call 541-687-2746 during office hours (noon -6:00 M-F).

 

 

Cost: 
Free for members; memberships available at the door $15-35 or more sliding scale