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West Hartford Women in Networking hosts Connecticut State Troubadour Kristen Graves

Kristen Graves is the Connecticut State Troubadour. Submitted photo

Singer/songwriter Kristen Graves will speak and perform at the WWIN meeting at Chatfield in West Hartford on Dec. 18, 2014.

Submitted by Dianne Rechel, West Hartford Women in Networking

Kristen Graves is the Connecticut State Troubadour. Submitted photo

Kristen Graves is the Connecticut State Troubadour. Submitted photo

West Hartford Women in Networking is delighted to be bringing our State Troubadour to town! This dynamic meeting will consist of Introductions, Networking, and a presentation by Kristen Graves. Please come for an uplifting morning with wonderful women and an amazing speaker!

Kristen Graves is a singer/songwriter and humanitarian from Fairfield, CT, who is serving as the current Connecticut State Troubadour. Recently mentioned as “the new generation of folk” by the New York Times, Kristen performs approximately 175 shows a year throughout the country. She will be performing her own original songs as well as some classic folk sing-alongs. The audience will be invited to sing, laugh, cry, and enjoy each other as Kristen shares the stories behind her music – from sharing the Lincoln Center stage with Peter Yarrow, to sharing lentil soup and conversation with Pete Seeger. This is a morning of stories and songs you won’t want to miss!

In addition to a rigorous performing schedule, Kristen makes sure to focus time on humanitarian efforts through different organizations. Currently, Kristen spends about three months of her year volunteering with Simply Smiles, a Connecticut-based charity run by her husband, Bryan Nurnberger.

Kristen also has a political passion. “During the 2012 election things got so mean and nasty. I thought it would be funny to start my own political party called the Just Be Nice Party. I’d mention it at shows as a joke, and people started asking if they could join!” Kristen now has a website for the Just Be Nice Party. It’s a page that lists small non-profits that take on a variety of social issues. And she’s determined to grow the party during the next two years.

“During my time as the State Troubadour, I want to take the opportunity to encourage artists of all ages to not only make great art, but take things a step further outside of themselves and use that art to inspire change.”

Kristen shares this message at her shows, and has brought the Just Be Nice to community centers, schools and libraries – always reminding people that there is always something we can do. “When we all do our part to use our talents and make the world a better place, beautiful things happen.”

In 2011, as a part of her summer tour, she spent time with Simply Smiles in LaPlant, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Reservation. It was an incredible week for many reasons, but her favorite discovery was that the kids (and adults!) loved music and loved the guitar. So she hatched a plan.

She recorded her favorite Christmas songs, made a Christmas album, and the proceeds paid for 50 guitars, straps, tuners, capos, picks, gig bags, and sets of strings. Guitar Camp was born!

She spends months on the Cheyenne River Reservation each summer teaching guitar every day, and at the end of the time they have a town-wide recital. It’s always a huge success, with the highlight being … all participants get to keep their guitars! She is still fund-raising for more guitars. They have more participants this year (and every year), and  need some replacement strings and tuners. Plus, she keeps dreaming … maybe this is the year we can add some keyboards into the mix … or a banjo … Learn more about her at: www.kristengraves.com

The WWIN meeting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 7:30-9:45 a.m., at Chatfield, One Chatfield Drive, West Hartford, CT 06110. The meeting cost is $2.

For further information, call Dianne Rechel 860.573.3501, or check the website www.westhartfordwomeninnetworking.com

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