Women’s Voices concert returns to State College to celebrate local talent

There once was a time when the most advanced civilizations were matriarchies, not patriarchies. It was the birthplace of the human race, the ascension of humanity, the era of the divine feminine.

It’s somehow not what the kids learn in school — a least not for now — but at the same time the pendulum is swinging, which is one reason why the Women’s Voices event at The State Theater on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. is such an important event.

“The original impetus was the talent we have and the (political) times,” said organizer and performer Natascha Hoffmeyer, “but then it turned out to be more of a celebration of music and talent.”

A slew of performers are turning out for the event, which also benefits Centre Safe, previously know as the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, an organization providing specialized services for those who have been victimized by dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Performers include Anchor & Arrow, The Lemon Drops, Jazz Kat, Kristi Jean & Her Ne’er-Do-Wells, Pure Cane Sugar Band, Miss Melanie’s Double Something, Natascha & The Spy Boys and Jackie Brown & The Gill Street Band. Although the event is designed to raise awareness and funds that benefit Centre Safe, there’s also a much simpler mission.

“I’d love to have a full house,” Hoffmeyer said. “Another goal is to present these newbies to a bigger audience to a bigger audience, and to have a really good time and to show the amazing talent we have around here.”

And that was part of the original mission of the event, which is in its second year.

“I though it be super cool to have something that really features the female performers in town, to have them all on one stage,” Hoffmeyer said. “It’s also for me, because I get to see them all in one night. Usually one of us is gigging so we don’t get to see each other a lot. Just to bring all that energy together.”

The performers are honored as well.

“I never had any direct relationship with the Women’s Resource Center, or Centre Safe,” Anchor & Arrow singer Jen Dashem said, “but a friend of mine used their resources this year and was just blown away by what they’re capable of doing and the help they provide. It’s amazing this town has something like that.”

There were a few formats considered for last year’s even and this year’s event, but Hoffmeyer indicated a variety of genres was deemed best due to the eclectic talents of the performers.

“If we leave it open genre-wise we can have more variety,” Hoffmeyer said, “and we have a lot of female performers who do all kinds of different stuff, and that’s what makes the event interesting. It’s not just one genre or one artist.”

There are even a few surprises, such as the young, up and coming, ceaselessly exciting new band, The Lemon Drops.

“(When I heard them) I thought they sounded great,” Hoffmeyer said, “and I just thought, wow. That is like so super fresh, young blood, and harmonies are great.”

Hoffmeyer teetered on the edge of politics and other perceived contemporary societal ills, but ultimately kept bringing the focus back to Centre Safe and the best way to take care of Centre County, implying the way to help affect change is to take care f your local community.

“It helps by helping Centre Safe,” Hoffmeyer said.

Kevin Briggs is a writer, researcher and musician who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.