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10:33 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Folk Sessions' Sunday benefit show will spotlight area services

A day for the entire family to groove together is coming up Sunday at the Highlands Center for Natural History.

The afternoon, from noon to 5 p.m. is dedicated to a benefit for Prescott Area Shelter Services (PASS) and will feature entertainment for both adults and children and the opportunity for the public to learn more about community groups that will be on hand, organizer Tom Agostino said.

Guests will first peruse booths set up by the groups, which include Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys to Men Arizona, the Highlands Center, PASS, Prescott Good Governance and the Folk Sessions KJZA.

These booths will not only provide information about their services, but they will also have fun treats for children, such as games and face-painting, Agostino said.

In addition to raising money for PASS, the afternoon "will showcase" the various community groups, "have a party and celebrate" all that they contribute to the area, Agostino said.

At the same time, entertainment will begin warming up in the Highland Center's amphitheater.

Agostino and his wife, Christa, along with their granddaughter Savannah Rose, 11, will kick off the entertainment with their Americana folk music.

Popular local ensemble, The Gurley Girls, will put on a puppet show for children after the Agostinos entertain.

"Amelia's Discoveries,"  written by Gurley Girl Dori Mion, is the story of Amelia, a young girl and avid reader, as she meets a caterpillar who is learning how he will soon become a butterfly. Together, they also learn about shooting stars, and meet a dog named Betsy who loves to eat ham - and books.   Through original live music by The Gurley Girls and puppetry created by Mion, the audience will want to celebrate Amelia's discoveries. The puppet show is for children of all ages, especially younger ones.

At 2 p.m., the Antique Parts Barbershop Quartet will take the stage, before Meg and Thatcher Bohrman and their family gather around Meg Bohrman's accordion to perform.

The day's headliner, Miss Tess and the Talkbacks will entertain at 3:15.

Brooklyn-based Miss Tess grew up with music, since her parents are both musicians, but didn't realize her own musical destiny until she was out of college, even though she had picked up the guitar and learned a few chords in high school, she said. After college, she took the instrument seriously.

The singer and guitarist also loves to travel, so she combined that with her music, and "it all kind of fell together," she said.

The Talkbacks were originally called "Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade." But, Miss Tess said, that name "proved both too small a box and confusing." So, she and the ensemble batted around new names for a year before coming up with Miss Tess and the Talkbacks, kind of a play on "saucy" and that "Miss Tess" conjures up an image of a teacher who gets a lot of backtalk.

As she and the Talkbacks continue to work together, Miss Tess said the sound of their music has become "slightly edgier and there is more country and early rock and roll coming through." They have produced two albums, "Sweet Talk" and "The Love I Have for You," and will perform songs from these releases.

Soul Creek, made up of the Agostinos, Meg Bohrman and Kent Guger, will end the afternoon's entertainment.

An array of food and raffles for prizes will also highlight the day.Tickets for the afternoon are $12 for adults, $5 for children and $30 for families of no more than five. Tickets are available at the Highlands Center gift shop, 1375 S. Walker Road, or at www.prescottshelter.org.

Miss Tess and the Talkbacks will also perform that evening, beginning at 7 p.m., when the day becomes a Folk Sessions event, separate from the benefit for PASS.

Tickets for the evening show are $15 and are available at the Highlands Center gift shop or at www.folksessions.com.