Women singers join forces for benefit concert in State College

Miss Melanie & The Valley Rats will be among performers Saturday at the “Women’s Voices” concert at The State Theatre.
Miss Melanie & The Valley Rats will be among performers Saturday at the “Women’s Voices” concert at The State Theatre. Photo provided

Women’s Voices, a new event coming to The State Theatre on Saturday, is a one-of-a-kind concert bringing multiple artists onstage to celebrate female talent.

Natascha Hoffmeyer, of the local band Natascha & The Spy Boys, came up with the idea and said she was inspied by “the vast talent of female singers in the town.”

“I thought it would be such a great opportunity to get as many people as possible on one stage on one night and have them present their original work,” she said. “The only restriction in this case is that you have to perform an original song ... or you would have to cover a major female artist or singer. I thought that would give everyone a lot of space to be creative in their own genre and also maybe pick a favorite song that they’d like to do.”

The event will benefit the Centre County Women’s Resource Center.

“The Women’s Resource Center is close to my heart, so I thought that would be a perfect recipient for some of the funds from the ticket sales,” Hoffmeyer said. “I would be really excited if we had a successful event, so we could repeat this on a yearly basis, because of course you can’t include everyone at every event, so it would be nice to ... be able to rotate people in and out.”

Though Hoffmeyer says she’s been toying with the idea of a similar event for a while, this year seemed like the perfect timing to put her dreams into motion. While it’s not a political event per se Hoffmeyer said, “the atmosphere for women’s rights is getting increasingly iffy with the current political climate and ... I thought it would be nice to have an event that exclusively features women and shows off the great talent we have in this town.”

With little event planning experience, Hoffmeyer was somewhat intimidated by putting together the concert, but her passion spurred her on. Now as the event comes together, she humbly admits that everything fell into place easier than expected, thanks to the active musical community in Centre County.

“I’m just a singer in town who is consistently amazing by all the other female singers,” she said. “As a female singer, I have a natural predisposition to be interested in other female singers.”

At first, she considered an event focusing on a decade of music or a particular artist, but then went with a more freeform approach. Her musical friends quickly jumped on board, as did other musicians in the area.

The event features Elaine Meder-Wilgus of Webster’s Bookstore Cafe as the emcee. Performers include Hops & Vines, Anchor & Arrow, Leah Mueller, Miss Melanie & The Valley Rats, Erin Condo & Wilgus, Jackie Brown & The Gill Street Band and, of course, Hoffmeyer’s own band.

Each act will perform three to five songs, depending on timing. A finale surprise tops off the evening.

“I think it’s going to be pretty festive and fun,” Hoffmeyer said. “It’s such a new thing to have all these different performers to do all their own genres; it’s not going to be an evening of blues or an evening of jazz, we have acoustic pop, we have acoustic rock, Americana, folk, country, blues and soul, jazz and swing. There’s this big bouquet of musical genres which I think will be really exciting for anyone.”

She hopes that fans of one of the acts listed above may stop by and discover a new artist and that they “enjoy it as much as we did putting it together.”

If you go

What: Women’s Voices

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College

Info: thestatetheatre.org/womens-voices