Sally Taylor and Family Concert at Mass MoCA
An Evening with Sally Taylor & Friends
Come to Your Senses On Stage: Performances from musical greats including Carly Simon, Ben Taylor & John Forte.
In addition to the opening of the exhibit, Come to Yours Senses, in Mass MoCa’s Kidspace, there will be an intimate one-night-only concert Saturday, June 23, at 7pm, featuring acoustic performances from musical greats, including the legendary Carly Simon with her family Ben Taylor and Sophie Hiller; Consenses project curator Sally Taylor, also of the famed folk family; fellow next generation R+B sensation Kori Withers, daughter of Bill Withers; blues guitarist Eric Erdman; and hip hop artist and producer John Forte, formerly of The Fugees; with a dance performance by Alison Manning and Jesse Keller. All proceeds from the evening will benefit arts education at MASS MoCA.
An Evening with Sally Taylor & Friends is a rare moment to witness these artistic chains come to life on stage. Over the last half-decade, Consenses has grown into an extended family of artists and creators across the globe who have collaborated on over two-dozen interpretive chains. A selected group of those all-star artists join us throughout the evening amplifying the voices of local children and empowering our youth to speak up, be heard, and own the power and value of their perspectives.
Arrive early to explore Come to Your Senses in the Kidspace gallery. Lickety Split, MASS MoCA’s in-house café, serves up fresh salads, homemade soup, and lip-smacking pub fare. The MASS MoCA bar is always well-stocked with local beer from Bright Ideas Brewing and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $35 students, $45 in advance, $57 day of, and $75 preferred. Admission to MASS MoCA’s Kidspace is always free. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located at the museum, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org.
About the Performers
Eric Erdman is a storyteller with a life that gives him stories to write songs about. His guitar takes him around the world and he can write four songs from one break up. His lyrics are introspective and deep, often with a hook or punchline that provide the spark in a song or draw listeners in like old friends. His career began as the lead singer of the funk rock band, The Ugli Stick in Mobile, Alabama and they released four albums and performed on three USO tours. In 2012, Erdman recorded his first solo album, “My Brother’s Keepers” that revealed his voice as a singer-songwriter. He regularly tours through Europe and Australia and has won multiple international songwriting awards. He recorded his second album, “Color the Silence,” in Australia in 2013. Erdman recorded his third solo album in 2014.
Few understand second chances better than John E. Forte. On November 24, 2008, President George W. Bush granted the petition for commutation submitted by 33-year-old Forte, a classically trained violinist and Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer from Brooklyn, New York. Famous for his work with the multi-platinum group “The Fugees,” Forte was the quintessential rising star before landing himself in a federal penitentiary. His was one of only eleven commutations granted by President Bush during his eight years in office – a testament to the dedication of those who tirelessly campaigned on his behalf, including iconic singer Carly Simon and noted conservative Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah. A brilliant young prodigy and dedicated student, Forte was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy and attended New York University until his career took off in the music industry. While working as an A&R executive for Rawkus Entertainment, Forte met Lauryn Hill and began working closely with “The Fugees.” Forte co-wrote and produced two songs on the multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning album, The Score. He went on to record two solo albums, PolySci (Columbia) and I, John (Transparent) which featured industry legends Herbie Hancock, Trick Esthero, and Carly Simon.
British singer-songwriter Sophie Hiller has been passionate about music from a young age, growing up listening to classics like Stevie Wonder. At age thirteen, Hiller wrote her first song alongside her father, who she continues to collaborate with. Starting her musical career on Youtube, Hiller gained the recognition of Tom Jones’ Musical Director and was asked to perform as a backup singer. Since then, Hiller has collaborated with several musicians, including Consenses artists Ben Taylor and Natasha Bedingfield. Inspired by Jazz, Motown, and Pop, Hiller released her debut solo album in 2014.
Alison Manning & Jesse Keller
Alison Manning and Jesse Keller both hail from The Yard, a contemporary dance company based in Martha’s Vineyard. Alison Manning, who serves as the Executive Director and Co-Producer at The Yard, has comprehensive experience in the dance field; her knowledge of the Horton Technique has led her to teach at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, Wesleyan University, and several dance studios. She currently performs with Dance the Yard, The Bang Group and The Peggy Spina Tap Company. Jesse Keller is the Co-Producer and the Director of Island Programs at The Yard. Keller performs with The Stefanie Batten Bland, an international dance company, at venues such as Festival Onze Bouge, The Brooklyn Museum, and Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/ Out. Together, the pair have collaborated to create choreographic work presented as part of the Yard’s performance series.
Singer-songwriter Carly Simon rose into popularity in the 70’s. Grammy winner for Best New Artist in 1971, Simon created her top hit single “You’re So Vain” a year later. Since then, Carly Simon has produced several albums, including her 1975 triple platinum record, The Best of Carly Simon and her 1978 release, Boys in the Trees. Previously married to James Taylor, the couple had two children, musicians Ben Taylor and Sally Taylor, who is also the founder of Consenses. Beyond her musical career, Simon has authored two books: a children’s book inspired by her experience of motherhood, Amy the Dancing Bear, and her 2015 memoir, Boys in Trees.
Musician and actor Ben Taylor spent his formative years surrounded by the music of his singer-songwriter parents, Carly Simon and James Taylor. His early musical work includes his 2003 debut album Famous Among the Barns, a collaborative effort with friends Adam MacDougall and Larry Ciancia of the Ben Taylor Band. Taylor’s solo album, Another Run Around the Sun, released in 2005, recalled his family’s acoustic background, featuring both Carly Simon and his sister, Sally Taylor. His acting career includes his role on NBC’s American Dreams. Taylor’s most recent efforts include his collaborative EP with Consenses artist Sophie Hiller, titled Christmas Is Family.
Artist and musician Sally Taylor is the founder and director of Consenses, a multidisciplinary project that asks artists working in varying mediums to interpret each other’s artwork. Acting like a game of creative “Telephone”, the project celebrates individual perception, but collectively fosters connection and common understanding. Beyond her work with Consenses, Taylor produced her own record label in 1998 yielding three albums: Tomboy Bride, Apt #6S, and Shotgun. Her musical career took her on an 180-day tour with a five-piece band. After retiring from touring, Taylor taught at The Berklee School of Music. Daughter of Carly Simon and James Taylor, she frequently collaborates with her family, including with her musically apt brother, Ben Taylor.
Kori Withers graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts. She currently lives in Los Angeles.