Free concerts are being offered

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Staff Writer

Two local arts groups have joined forces to present two free-to-the-public concerts — one in Aurora, the other in Belhaven.
The Beaufort County Arts Council, in cooperation with the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, will present the first of these concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aurora Community Center.
The second event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Pantego Academy Historical Museum.
An arts council news release promises “an ‘opry-style’ setting” for the concerts, the first of which will feature the Beaufort County-based band Carolina Still and local musician Bob Daw.
The Belhaven concert will showcase Mac’s Bluegrass Jam and special guests Chuck and Emma Williams.
“Community partners for this outreach project are the Hazel Guilford Memorial Library in Aurora, Town of Aurora, Belhaven Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Pantego Academy Historical Museum,” the news release reads. “Both concerts will offer our community partners the opportunity to provide concessions to benefit their organizations.”
Also, each concert will be preceded by a “community acoustic jam” from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on the day of the show. Anyone who sings or plays an acoustic instrument is invited to join in, the organizers said.
“The is the first time we’ve co-presented something like this in the rural communities of Beaufort County,” said Joey Toler, executive director of the arts council.
Part of the arts council’s mission is to ensure arts programs are reaching underserved communities, Toler related.
“This is a way of putting something out in the community,” he said.
According to Rob Cuthrell, chairman of the 85-member BCTMA, this musical aggregation is expanding beyond its Saturday-morning jam sessions at the Union Alley Coffeehouse, housed in the Inner Banks Artisans’ Center in downtown Washington.
“This is something we’ve been wanting to do, is to serve the broader community,” Cuthrell said. “We’re excited about branching out our programming, our presence.”
“The relationship between the BCTMA and the arts council has been fantastic,” said Bob Henkel, co-owner of the Inner Banks Artisans’ Center, who said the musicians’ numbers have grown along with the center.
Though the arts-council relationship continues, BCTMA is nearly ready to branch out on its own, Toler shared.
“Technically, right now, BCTMA is still part of the arts council,” he said, adding the group maintains a bank account that is part of the arts council’s budget.
The arts council helped this organization get off the ground, but BCTMA will be an independent nonprofit by the end of the current fiscal year, he said.
“That’s the best that you can hope for any arts group,” Toler commented, calling BCTMA “a success story.”
For more information on the concerts, call the arts council at 252-946-2504 or e-mail Toler at
Interested parties also may visit the BCTMA’s website,