Music in the Streets returns

Published 12:57 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

Singer-songwriter Mitch Barrett (center) performs with friends Friday at Music in the Streets in downtown Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Mimes, dancers, cake-walkers – and, oh yeah, music – filled the streets of downtown Washington in the first Music in the Streets of 2011.

“It’s gotten better and better,” said Beth Byrd, executive director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, one of the MITS backers.

As Byrd spoke, Kentucky roots artist Mitch Barrett set up on a stage at Main and Respess streets.

The Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County readied themselves for a cake walk to boost their efforts at teaching adults how to read.

And Robin Potts, a MITS mainstay, strutted with her accordion, alongside two mimes, Raven Simpson and Riley Potts Simpson.

Now in its ninth year, this downtown-Washington event has a well-established structure and reputation, Byrd agreed.

Musicians and leaders of nonprofits seek out the bookers for available spaces to play their tunes or promote their organizations, she related.

And the district’s merchants were abuzz about the annual return of MITS, she shared.

“Everyone is just happy to see it come around again,” Byrd said.

Alongside the usual complement of musicians, MITS served a dual role as part of the kickoff for the third-annual BoCo (Beaufort County) Music Festival.

The festival ran all day Saturday, despite weather-induced challenges.

Back at Friday’s MITS, the Turnage Theater lobby featured an art show by the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s Eastern Region.

Bidders and spectators were invited to gaze at watercolors suspended from the walls of the theater’s gathering space.

Proceeds from sales of the art were to be divided between the artists, the Turnage and the society, said Jeff Jakub, president of the society.

Jakub acknowledged some of his own work was on the wall, but deferred to fellow artists, including local painter Pat Holscher.

“They’re all recognizable,” Jakub said.

Out on Main Street, Lavon Drake, a member of the MITS music committee, said the people behind the returning celebration were fortunate to have a range of talents from which to draw.

“We are blessed to have the musicians we have here tonight,” a smiling Drake said.