Fall Arts: Songs of the City

The United Way matches local storytellers with songwriters to create brand-new collaborations for one special night.


Songs of the City
October 5, 6:30pm
Spatz Theatre, 1855 Trollope Street

Inspired by similar events in other cities, the United Way is presenting Songs of the City—a event pairing local musicians with community members who've benefited from the United Way's work in the area.

It's an evening that's set to showcase both the breadth of the United Way itself and a variety of musical perspectives—performers taking the stage range from folk legend Jennah Barry to North Preston's R&B star Reeny Smith to members of Century Egg. And instead of providing music as an entertaining contrast to more serious stories, United Way's Laura Whitman says the event aims to produce a truly collaborative environment.

"From the storyteller's point of view... every opportunity they have to connect with and share their story with others, the more powerful of an experience that becomes for them," says Whitman. "But for the artists, for most of them, it's also an unusual opportunity for them to apply their artistry to someone else's story."

And from genre to subject matter, Songs of the City promises to be diverse—stories will touch on "everything from homelessness and addiction to mental health struggles, youth unemployment, incarceration and rehabilitation," says Whitman.

"General community belonging is a thread that weaves through everyone's story," she says. "It's that difference between what does it feel like to be someone who feels isolated from the community...and then now what does it feel like to be someone who has more of a support network around them, to be a more strongly connected member of the community."

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