Forbes Center and WRMA Radio Partner for “Songstress Sojourn”; Concert schedule announced


September 1, 2021 – The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University is delighted to partner with WMRA radio for the inauguration Stay of the singer, a concert celebrating five singer-songwriters from the Shenandoah Valley. Gina Furtado, Erin Lunsford, Molly Murphy, Ebony Nicole and Suz Slezak will perform several original songs and share the personal stories behind their creation in a performance on Friday, September 10 at 8 p.m. at the Forbes Center Concert Hall. Tina Owens of The Acoustic Café at WMRA will host the event, which is sponsored by Cross Keys Studio in Port Republic, Virginia. Singer’s stay is part of the 2021-2022 Masterpiece Season, which is sponsored by Kathy Moran Wealth Group.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the WMRA again. Showcasing such talented artists from the Shenandoah Valley is a powerful way for the Forbes Center to reach our community, ”said Regan Byrne, Executive Director of the Forbes Center. “We have a dynamic music scene in our region and with this partnership with the Forbes Center, Stay of the singer, we have the opportunity to amplify this talent in a very creative way, ”adds Matt Bingay, general manager of WRMA.

Born and raised in Front Royal, Virginia, Gina Furtado is known for her work as a banjo player for Chris Jones & The Night Drivers; she made her international debut with the group soon after arriving in 2016. Furtado’s two-year tours of the east coast with his siblings led to Bluegrass today congratulating her on being “absurdly talented”. She is currently touring with her group, the Gina Furtado Project.

Erin Lunsford is an award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Fincastle, Virginia. She is the singer for Richmond, Va. Based funk / soul group Erin & The Wildfire and has opened solo for Bruce Hornsby, Darrell Scott, and more. Lunsford was selected as one of NPR Music Tiny Desk’s Best Gigs in 2018 and 2019, and was included in “FloydFest 2019: 10 Best Things We Saw” by Land of rolling stones.

Molly Murphy, who studied music at JMU, plays guitar, sings, writes and arranges music. She began performing with The Bourbon Specials of Charlottesville, Virginia in 2005. A few years later, Murphy and his friends formed The Judy Chops, which performs in the region as well as on the East Coast. Murphy also performs in The Marvelous Murphy Sisters duo ensemble with his sister Sally and owns the Queen City Music Studios in Staunton, Va., A music school for learning by ear.

ebony nicole is an East Coast singer-songwriter who lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She plays the keyboard and the acoustic guitar. Nicole’s bachelor High and dry received a Special Mention in the Singer-Songwriter category of UK Songwriting Content 2019. His four-track EP project is available for download at

Suz slezak, who grew up playing the violin and singing, is a pioneering folk musician who performs solo and in duet with her husband David Wax in the Charlottesville, Va. based group “Mexo-Americana” David Wax Museum. The group’s exit Light line in August 2019 resulted in a national television debut on CBS this morning: Saturday and three features on NPR Coffee of the world. Their ballad “Big Sur” debuted during the wedding scene on Netflix Alley of fireflies in 2021.

WMRA is an NPR News / Talk radio station that has served listeners in 29 counties in the Shenandoah Valley and central Virginia for over 45 years. The WMRA network includes five transmitters, 90.7fm in the Shenandoah Valley, 103.5fm in Charlottesville, 89.9fm in Lexington, 94.5fm in Winchester and 91.3fm in Farmville. WMRA also operates 91.7fm WEMC, a classical music service in the Harrisonburg metro area.

The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts includes the Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theater and Dance and the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance and is home to five state-of-the-art performance venues: the Mainstage Theater (450 seats), the Concert Hall (600 seats), Recital Hall (198 seats), Studio Theater (200 seats) and Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theater (200 seats). It also includes classrooms, rehearsals and offices.

Tickets are $ 34 to $ 35. For tickets visit or call the Forbes Center box office at (540) 568-7000.

Songstress Sojourn artwork by Sue Overton.

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