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MCLA Presents! Sixth Annual Blues & Funk Festival

01/26/2011

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) public presenting series, MCLA Presents!, will hold the Sixth Annual Blues and Funk Festival on Feb. 4 in the MCLA Venable Gym. Headlining the Festival will be Papa Grows Funk and blues artist Benny Turner for a night of New Orleans celebrated music.

  "We're really excited for the festival to mark its sixth year," said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA. "Papa Grows Funk gets better each year. The group still rightly holds the 'king of funk' crown in New Orleans. Add blues master Benny Turner to the mix and you have a great night of music."

 Papa Grows Funk is no stranger to the Berkshires, having played MCLA twice before, as well as at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. By packing in instruments form guitar to saxophone, plus lead singer John Gros' Hammond B-3 playing and hardcore vocals, the group continually upholds its reputation as one of New Orleans highlighted funk bands, Secor said. Harmonizing songs that embrace fun, culture, and community, "Papa" retains its popularity in both the north and south of the east coast.

 In a culture where determination of musical talent rests on family, Turner is not left behind, according to Secor. His family of musical genius' includes his own brother Freddy King and second-cousin Johnny Mathis, he said. Turner is a well-known bass player who was awarded "Best Blues Player of 1997" by Real Blues Magazine. Having played at the Apollo Theatre in New York City and the Regal Theatre, Turner has experience in both the Blues scene and the performance genre.

 "The Blues & Funk Festival is more than the annual way to kick off the second half of our season," Secor continued, "it introduces a fresh year to both students and the North Adams community. Or as Papa Gros would say, 'ain't nothing but a party.'"

 The festival is an annual hit with MCLA students.

 "It was great music, a great time. Everyone was dancing," said Dylan Glaser '12, who attended the festival last winter. "I'm definitely going again this year; I'm looking forward to it."

 The Sixth Annual Blues and  Funk Festival is on Feb. 4 in the Venable Gym with the doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for MCLA student and MCLA Presents! members, $5 for faculty and staff, $8 for MCLA alumni, and $12 for general admission. To purchase tickets call Amy Spiewak at (413)662-5204.