Helen Avakian

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What a Week! Day 2 Library Concert
September 26, 2014

Arrived in Winfield from Kansas City MO around 1:30 PM very hungry. My friend and fellow competitor Dave Irwin and I decided to get lunch at a restaurant we like to go to in town called Biederman's. But it was closed as many restaurants tend to be on Monday. Just a few doors down was an intriguing looking establishment called "The Chef's Table." It was a large open room with a lot of attractive wood; counters, floors, walls, tables, shelves. It also had a large New York City subway map which took me right back to my Hunter College days. I used to study these maps in the subway in order to find my way around or figure out where I was if I got lost. Although we later found out the owner is from Los Angeles CA.

Anyway, back to the food. The meal  struck me as gourmet fine dining meets comfort food served in a laid back manner with very reasonable prices. I had the bowl of 15 bean soup and a generous half turkey sandwich on delicious homemade bread. Top rate! I am getting hungry describing it. Turns out they get their coffee from a Madison WI roaster called Johnson. It was smooth and energizing. We got to talking with Stan Lerner, the chef/owner and his assistant Caitlin Waits. Mr. Lerner had a restaurant in downtown LA for a number of years, and he decided to make a big life change and move to Winfield after visiting a few times and going to the Walnut Valley Festival.


On Tuesday evenings right before the Walnut Valley Festival the town of Winfield has a "Music Crawl" where local businesses have musicians play from 5:30 - 8:30 PM. We asked if there woud be music at the Chef's Table and since there was none scheduled we offered to come perform and bring some friends. This was met with immediate enthusiasm and the next thing we knew it was posted on facebook and posters were being made. Cool, a gig to look forward to!

Speaking of posters, I spotted a poster for the Monday night concert at the Winfield Public Library in a shop window. I was going to appear in that concert (entitled Wizards of Guitar) with Mak Sganga (international Fingerstyle Champion) and Brian Henke (harp and 6 string guitar virtuoso) that evening. I noticed the time was listed for 5:30. Uh oh, we were all under the impression the show began at 6. I notified Mark and Brian who were a bit shocked and still on the road so  it was up to me to get there, set up sound and be ready to play by 5:30 so that is what I did. It was a lovely evening with a very good crowd. It was fun as well as great practice for the upcoming fingerstyle contest to perform, and as always Mark and Brian played magnificently. We had fun performing impromptu versions of "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" U2, lead vocal sung by Mark, and "All Along the Watch Tower" with the vocal by Brian. I enjoyed singing some harmony and Dave Irwin sat in on guitar as well. So inspiring to be with my guitar buddies!


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