Local Duo welcomes Jack Williams in concert

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MANCHESTER — A harmonious balance is not difficult to find for the local songwriting and performance team of Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen.

The folk musicians, married in 1989, only play locally about once a year, though they have lived in North Bennington for over three decades.

On Friday, April 21, Gillette and Mangsen will be joined in concert by veteran performer Jack Williams at The Meetinghouse Cafe in Bennington.

"We're very excited to share Jack's music with our friends," said Gillette. "He's just an astonishingly talented and entertaining performer."

"Jack is the best guitarist we know, with mesmerizing lyrical songs," said Mangsen.

For Gillette and Mangsen, playing on their home turf is always a special occasion.

"It really is kind of a reunion," said Gillette. "We expect to see a lot of familiar faces."

Friday's concert is part of a series sponsored by Bennington's Unitarian Universalist Church through their Meetinghouse Cafe, which hosts performances throughout the year.

"When we started holding these concerts a decade ago there was almost no live music in town," said Charles Putney, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. "I think that live music is such a different experience, because you really get to interact with the performers."

After years in the music industry, Gillette and Mangsen haven't lost their passion for live performance.

"I feel like we're so lucky now to just travel almost anywhere and find a group of people willing to listen to songs that they may not have heard before," said Gillette. "That's really the best of both worlds for us."

"Steve and Cindy are really special, and they've been working as a duo for years," said Putney. "It brings something unique to the songs that they perform. A lot of what Steve writes is very compelling."

Gillette and Mangsen will not be the only veteran musicians on stage however. Williams has been heralded as one of the most dynamic musicians in the Folk circuit, and has over 54 years of experience playing folk, rock, jazz, and classical music.

For the musicians, performance is only a small aspect of a much larger picture.

"I feel like we've really done the right thing in terms of choosing a form of communication, musical expression, that really allows us to focus on the values and content we feel are uplifting and enlightening," said Gillette. "We're fortunate now to play the music that we want to play, which is mostly our own songs with some traditional pieces thrown in."

Gillette, Mangsen, and Williams will perform at 8 p.m. at the Meetinghouse Cafe within the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bennington. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. with a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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