The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 30, 2012

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Singer-songwriter to perform in Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kan. — I work with amazingly diverse and talented people: jugglers and anglers, travelers and chefs, magicians and musicians.

When I’m lucky, they teach me magic tricks and share books and recommend great fishing holes.

Our newsroom city desk editor was even kind enough to lend me a favorite album with the thought that I might enjoy it as much as he did.

“What’s More Honest Than a Song?” proved to be a perfect companion on commutes along country roads, and the perfect foil to my tension-filled workdays.

The artist is a young musician I’d never heard of named Shannon Wurst, who has roots in Arkansas and has grown up in a world of picking parties and house concerts. A true storyteller, she creates for listeners vivid mental images — of couples lining up to dance in “Gypsy Stranger,” of perhaps the last ivory-billed woodpecker sighting in Arkansas, of the Buffalo River cutting through Ozarks limestone.

Wurst’s work has earned her acclaim as a finalist in songwriting competitions, a commission by the Department of Arkansas Heritage to write and perform songs about Arkansas for schoolchildren, and recognition by Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

And now she’s coming to Pittsburg.

She’ll first play a house concert Tuesday night. On Wednesday, she will present children’s workshops at the Family Resource Center. She’ll wind up her stay with a performance at the center’s annual Playground Party, and the word is some children will sing along on a few numbers.

For the Tuesday night house concert, 40 tickets are available at $25 each through Family Resource Center board member Dawn McNay at dmcnay@chcsek.org. Snacks and beverages will be provided, with social time beginning at 7 p.m. and the concert at 7:30 p.m. Because it’s a school night, the hosts promise to have listeners home by 10 p.m.

The Playground Party begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the center, 1600 N. Walnut St. Tickets are available for purchase at the center office, the Pittsburg Board of Education Office at 510 Deill St., or at the gate for $10 (adults) and $5 (children up to age 10).

Wurst will play beginning at 6:30 p.m. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be there. I’m betting my city desk editor will be on newsroom duty that night, but I wish he could be there, too. He’d be happily humming that woodpecker song for days.

Follow Andra Stefanoni on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

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