Back Stage – One down, one to go |

Back Stage – One down, one to go

Celebrating their 50th birthdays are Jon Blinder and Billy Bensing, two residents playing significant roles in the musical community here.

At least 100 friends of Blinder were at his birthday party last Sunday at the Center for the Arts. Blinder, the center’s president of the board of directors, bought the building in September 2001 so the nonprofit Center for the Arts would not have to deal anymore with an unsecured month-to-month lease and a landlord who didn’t do repairs. The center assumed the mortgage in early 2003.

“The party was big fun. It was a great gathering of the arts and real estate worlds. Jon lives in both,” said Peter Wilson, the center’s business manager who was the party’s musical director. “It lasted ’til the wee hours. A dozen performances included a seven-piece dance band led by Paul Emery, the center’s artistic director, and me.”

Americana singer-songwriter Bensing plays regularly in Nevada City and Grass Valley. He will celebrate his birthday Friday during a concert/party at the Foothill Community Church, 2945 First St. off of Bell Street in Auburn. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m.

Suggested donation to Bensing’s party is $10 or food to share for attendees. Call Bensing at 432-7536 for more details.

Picture summer weather and California Worldfest

With all this nasty weather upon us, it might take a little extra effort to picture being outdoors at the eighth annual California Worldfest set for July 15-18 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Tickets went on sale last week for the Grass Valley festival.

Although a multitude of performers will be added the next few months, Worldfest organizers already signed Youssou N’Dour & the Super Etoile, a Senegal, West African world music group; Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel; Paris-based Les Yeux Noir mixing Gypsy, klezmer and swing jazz; Czech mandolinist Radim Zenkl; Americana’s Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum; and Brazilian guitarist/vocalist Badi Assad.

Closer to home, the San Juan Ridge’s Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and percussionist/string wizard Joe Craven from the Davis area return to the festival.

Worldfest also offers vocal, instrumental and dance workshops and after-hour jams.

Call 891-4098 or check on the Web for tickets or information on the groups.

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