Kate Grom and Ali Funkhouser to Bring GIFTS OF SONG Benefit to THE BLACK BOX

Kate Grom and Ali Funkhouser to Bring GIFTS OF SONG Benefit to THE BLACK BOX

THE BLACK BOX presents a special holiday season show, "Gifts of Song," featuring Kate Grom and Ali Funkhouser, on Saturday, December 16 at 8 p.m.

NYC-based singer-songwriter Kate Grom will sing songs from her debut album, Heroine, inspired by New Jersey horse country and European journeys.

Franklin's Ali Funkhouser, an actress and singer with a love for comedy, will present a set of holiday musical theatre and jazz standards. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Saddlebred Rescue, Inc., helping horses in need, and The Shadow Fund NE, providing assistance to those who cannot afford veterinary care for their companion pets.

Kate Grom's music aesthetic encompasses Americana traditions such as folk, bluegrass and country, as well as the reflective and literate traditions of contemporary and classic singer-songwriters. Her influences include Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan, America, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Simon & Garfunkel, Stevie Nicks and Gillian Welch, among others. Kate's nine-song album, Heroine, takes its title from a quote by a favorite author, Nora Ephron: "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." Grom notes, "Heroine is meant to be an inspiration and anthem to all women seeking to find strength and independence."

Two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Stewart Lerman, who has worked with Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith and more, produced Heroine at Hobo Sound. "He is a wellspring of wisdom," Kate says of Lerman. "Stewart really took me under his wing and respected/believed my art from the beginning and every step of the way moving forward. As a total pro, he offered guidance from a production standpoint, while completely leaving room for my vision."

The musicians who play on the record have worked with legendary artists including Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and the Eagles, among others. "I worked with an incredible group of guys," Kate says, "who were all extremely sensitive to the musical and poetic preparation, explanations and imaginations I presented to them before each song's creation."

An active American Saddlebred breeder and equine enthusiast, Kate notes about Saddlebred Rescue, "I have seen firsthand the incredible transformation that occurs for rescued horses when given the chance to be rehabilitated back to wellness and into a reputable training program." Similarly she describes that The Shadow Fund NE "exists for animals in need of expensive medical care."

Ali Funkhouser joins Kate Grom for THE BLACK BOX show. Now in her final year in Oklahoma City University's prestigious Music Theatre program, Ali recently played Margot and understudied Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, directed by Laura Bell Bundy, at THE LEXington Theatre Company in Kentucky. Ali toured internationally with Electric Youth across the U.K., France, Italy, Austria and Slovenia, and on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. National tour credits include Evita (directed by Hal Prince) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Additionally, she sang the role of La Novizia in Puccini's Suor Angelica with Chelsea Opera in New York City. Ali was trained at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts and is an alumna of Broadway Artists Alliance of New York City. Her New York coaches include Broadway's Alexander Gemignani, Jenn Colella and Sara Jean Ford, as well as Jan McDaniel in Oklahoma City.

A lifelong member of the Franklin Performing Arts Company, Ali has performed three solo cabaret shows at THE BLACK BOX blending comedy and traditional musical theatre. In preparation for "Gifts of Song" Ali notes, "I've had fun researching holiday material to create a set that includes both songs the audience will recognize as well as a few unexpected holiday gems."

"I'm excited to share this holiday benefit show with Kate Grom," says Ali. "Although we haven't met yet, we share a common interest in show horses. My first horse was a wonderful horse saved by Saddlebred Rescue, so I am happy to be able to give back to that organization with proceeds from this concert."

"Gifts of Song" tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. A cash bar is available. A suburban hub for great music and the home of the Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC), THE BLACK BOX is located at 15 West Central Street. For tickets and more information, visit www.THEBLACKBOXonline.com or call (508) 528-3370.


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