Advance Music, Meadowlark Studios, and The Point Radio have teamed up with Highlight to curate an all-star lineup of previous competitors of the “Advance Singer Songwriter / Contest.” For 20 years and counting, Advance Music and The Point have come together annually to present this Vermont treasure that draws seasoned musicians as well as those who have never before performed in public. The contest always proves to be an eclectic and diverse event, showcasing many musical and lyrical styles, textures, and tastes.
Singer/songwriter Helen Hummel hails from the green mountains of Vermont. Her music reflects the rural landscape of her upbringing and explores the styles of Folk, Americana, and Indie, among many others. Through classic and original songs, she fills out the limits of her vocal range, accompanying herself on bright and playful guitar. Helen recently released a full length album, Many Waters, and has played at the historic Bitter End in New York City, and the legendary Viper Room in Los Angeles. She regularly tours through her home state of Vermont and greater New England. Helen has opened for such artists as Anaïs Mitchell, Poco, Red Wanting Blue, The Salty Suites, and Chelsea Williams.
Inspired by his experiences in musical theatre, street performance, a cappella, jam bands, and acoustic soul outfits, Rick Cusick is excited to perform at the inaugural Highlight NYE Advance Music Singer Songwriter showcase. Rick’s mission is “sharing heartfelt songs with appreciative souls,” commented Jay Paul of WRUV-FM.
Rick honed his pipes in college singing with the Brown Derbies, winners of the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA). After fronting bands in Philly, San Francisco, and New York City, he established himself as a solo acoustic artist upon moving to Vermont in 2006.
Rick finished in 2nd place in the 2018 Advance Music Singer Songwriter Contest and has been featured on 104.7 PointFM’s Local Music Spotlight and WRUV’s Mouthful of Cavities. He is part of the Lyric Theatre community, having appeared in the 2018 performance of “Annie” and slated to return in 2019 in “Mamma Mia.”
Outside of the arts, Rick serves as Chief Information Officer at Reading Plus in Winooski and teaches yoga at Hot Yoga Burlington. He currently resides in Charlotte.
John Daly is a singer-songwriter based in Vermont who stumbled onto the true story of Vermont Congressman Matthew Lyon; first martyr of the First Amendment and forgotten founding father. Crafting melodies and lyrics, he recruited Neil Maurer for chord structures, Greg Goldman for orchestration. Performing a handful of songs in their acoustic stripped-down version, with historic speeches re-enacted.
A Vermont native, Reid Parsons has been spinning tales of triumph and tragedy through her soul-soaked Americana tunes. Performing alongside the likes of Cedric Burnside, Dexter Allen, and The Peterson Brothers in recent years, Parsons has rooted herself firmly in the blues tradition while exploring her folk singer-songwriter side. With her finger-picking style and mellifluous alto vocals, Parsons brings raw emotion onto the stage, taking listeners along for the ride every single time.
Parsons grew up in the Mad River Valley with strong influences of folk, blues, and jazz music. Her deft songwriting landed her the top spot at the 2017 Advance Music Singer/Songwriter competition, providing her the opportunity to record a 5 song EP at Meadowlark Studios in Williston, VT. Released in November 2018, her self-titled debut EP features local standout musicians: drummer Russ Lawton (of the Trey Anastasio Trio and Soule Monde), pedal steel player Brett Lanier (The Barr Brothers), and Emily Taubl (Vermont Philharmonic), alongside guitarist Steve Simollardes and bassist Josh Simon.
Cole Davidson has quickly made a name for himself in America’s northeast. This past year, he led his three-piece alt-folk band, Navytrain, from the cellar to large venue and festival stages. His acoustic melodies and striking lyrics weave a uniquely colorful musical tapestry. Now this young troubadour is unearthing a refined, crisp new beginning.
Ethan Stokes Tischler is a Vermont-grown musician/educator with a deep appreciation for the magic of music and the connection, healing and community it brings. Ethan’s songs draw from a long line of traditional American musics, and carry influences from Pete Seeger to Gillian Welch and the Fleet Foxes. He is delighted to share some of these songs with you all to help bring in the new year!
Enjoy a full day of events at Unitarian Universalist:
- 1:00pm – 3:00pm: Advance Music | VT Singer / Songwriter Showcase
- 4:00pm – 6:00pm: The Moth Story Slam
- 6:30pm – 9:30pm: Anaïs Mitchell with Special Guest Henry Jamison
***Events may fill up quick, so if you really want to be there, please arrive early to secure your spot! Henry Jamison and Anaïs Mitchell are playing back-to-back and people may stay for both shows, so please be EXTRA aware of arriving early to Henry Jamison if you want to see Anaïs Mitchell.***
This event is sponsored by: