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News from the Hilltop

July 18, 2007

Birmingham-Southern First Lady to welcome Just Plain Folks music organization

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College First Lady and violinist Karen Bentley Pollick will host a showcase event with the grassroots music organization Just Plain Folks in Birmingham July 31. The event, which takes place at the Birmingham International Center located at 1910 3rd Avenue North, kicks off a tour across the Midwest and Southeast on a mission to bring local communities together in more than 40 cities. Networking and a social will begin at 7 p.m. followed by a performance at 8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Pollick, who was awarded first prize at the Just Plain Folks 2006 Music Awards for an instrumental album recorded with pianist Bruce Hanifan, is an active member of the organization.

Local musicians signed up to perform include the Birmingham Rhythm Union; electronic improv band Dias; jazz singer Roszetta Johnson; improvising violinist LaDonna Smith; Garland Burnette and the Cinders; Lolly Lee with mandolinist Jason Bailey; Dr. Bouier with the band Gotcha; singer/songwriter Timothy Dowell; poet Benjamin Marsh; and Alys Stephens Center Chamber Players' members Pollick on violin with Michael Fernandez on viola.

The Just Plain Folks staff sets up local venues in small and large towns in each region and invites the local music community to come out and join them. Since 1998, the organization has featured over 15,000 artists in events in 49 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. It will head to Europe and the United Kingdom for a seven-week tour later in 2007. A complete list of dates and venues is posted on its Web site at

The volunteer-run organization is the largest of its kind in the world with more than 41,000 members in more than 100 countries. Each year the staff sets up free networking and performance events to allow musicians of any genre and experience level to come together. Artists and songwriters who wish to get involved with the organization are encouraged to visit its Web site to join. Membership is free.

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