Two Grammy Award winners and an Australian singer, songwriter will help usher in a new era in Westerly-Pawcatuck this weekend.
Saxophonist Paul Winter, known around the globe for his ability to connect people through music, will be joined by Corinne Gibbons and the Grammy Award winning musician Richard Cooke at a series of events beginning Saturday morning with the Community Music Stroll. The stroll, which begins at 10 a.m. at Donahue Park in Pawcatuck, will see the unveiling of a dozen enormous, outdoor, musical instruments that will permanently dot the local landscape.
Harmony Trail Reveal weekend, which will include a free Community Music Stroll, a ticketed "VIP Meet and Greet Breakfast," and a free musical workshop, kicks off Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Donahue Park in Pawcatuck. The musicians will also join the Chorus of Westerly for a few sets during the annual Summer Pops Concert Saturday night.
Tim Lebling of Stonington, who is heading up the Harmony Trail project up on behalf of Bricks and Murals, the organization responsible for the murals painted and placed on the side of buildings in the downtown area in 2017, said each instrument will be unveiled during a mile-long walk which will end at Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island on Canal Street.
Lebling said he has been encouraging individuals of all ages and community groups to "bring an instrument, bring your friends, and bring your harmony" to the stroll and walk the Harmony Trail with the celebrated musicians. The walk will include stops at each instrument to play with local musicians and unveil an instrument. The Harmony Trail Stroll will take approximately 1-2 hour.
There are still some tickets available for the Sunday morning breakfast at the Knickerbocker, Lebling said, when Winter, Gibbons and Cooke will take the stage for a Q&A with the audience. The cost for the breakfast is $25 and is being catered by Pat Isted, owner of the former Twisted Vine.
Sunday afternoon, Cooke and Gibbons will lead a musical workshop at the Knick from 1 to 3 p.m.
Winter, one of the pioneers of world music, and one of the first musicians to incorporate the sounds of nature and wildlife into his compositions, is known, along with his band, the Consort, for combining elements of African, Asian, Latin, and Russian music with American jazz.
They have been artists-in-residence at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divin, the world's largest Gothic cathedral, since 1980. His first group, The Paul Winter Sextet, was signed in 1961 by Columbia Records and recorded five jazz albums in the 1960s. They were one of the first ensembles to bring together folk music and Brazilian bossa nova in a jazz setting, and served as official cultural ambassadors of the United States in the 1960s, touring Latin America and performing in more than 20 countries. The band was one of the first ever to perform jazz at the White House, at the invitation of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Gibbons, an Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been singing all her life, Lebling said in a statement.
"Her unique sound is a soulful jazz hybrid with a pop sensibility and an earthy folk spirit that has been embraced by a devoted global audience over five full-length albums and countless tours," he said. "Corinne’s in- demand song-writing skills have kept her involved with a myriad of creative projects including her original team building workshops, special events and all-star musical collaborations. All of her work is infused with a joyful energy borne from the ancient art of storytelling in song."
A devoted environmentalist, she has partnered with National Geographic to make her album and multimedia show "Melt." She was bestowed with the International Peace award from The Stonehenge Solstice Estedford for her contribution to the world through "Melt," which was won two Music and Nature Film awards in this country. She is presently working on a "mindfulness musical," called "Search for the Sparkle," and has engaged a pioneering team of award-winning artists each committed to bringing together children’s voices from around the world, inclusive of all race, needs and abilities.
Gibbons has written three musicals that have been performed before thousands of people, has worked in four continents and more than 15 countries, engaging multicultural teams to join together to write and perform songs, and "is deeply committed to uniting more people of all walks of life in collaborative efforts through the creation of music."
Cooke, a "nonconformist" who studied music through voice, piano, and trumpet, taught himself to play new instruments by ear. He has been "happily rambling" on a "road of adventure, musical expression and creation" much of his life. With "an unabashed enthusiasm for the vagabond lifestyle," Cooke found his way to a retreat led by Paul Winter, where he was able to overcome the "constraints of self-consciousness" and discovered "the freedom of spontaneous music making." He moved to Moab, Utah, where he focused his energy on building instruments that would make music accessible to novices and seasoned musicians alike. He continues to play music professionally, and collaborated with Winter on the 2007 Grammy Award-winning "Crestone album."
Tickets can be purchased at the door or by visiting bricksandmurals.org.