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Emma Oliver-Minor sat down at the piano as the first performer of Chick Singer Night on March 9, and captured the room with her silky voice.
It was the first in a wave of performances that held the attention of family and friends inside the Parish Center for the Arts.[Continue below].
The annual program, organized by Jennifer Truesdale and Westford resident Marcia Macres gives gifted young female singers a platform for their art.
“It’s a lot of work,” acknowledged Truesdale as she sat down at the piano to perform a moving rendition of Simon and Garfunkle’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with singer-songwriter Kelly Riley.
Both women have chiseled successful singing careers despite living so far from the musical epicenters like Nashville and New York. Truesdale is a published songwriter who has worked on television shows and authored “Get Paid to Sing: The Singer’s Guide to Making a Living Making Music.”
Riley has opened for well known artists including Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett.
But the engine behind this year’s show was Macres who brought it back to Westford for the second time in two years. Macres is a marketing entrepreneur, married to saxophonist Jason Macres. Marcia Macres is the lead singer for Jason’s Jazz Punishers.
Of the five young performers, three — Gill Limbert, Victoria Andrews, and Oliver-Minor — were from Westford. Lauren Brennan sang a rocking “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” version of the challenging Stevie Wonder song. But it was Kaylee Federmann whose touching song written for her late father tugged at the heart strings.
The dynamic CSN Boston Band backed all the singers. They were Scott Tarulli on guitar, Justin Kolack on bass, Steve Bankuti on drums, and Andrew Beckman on keyboard.
David Stackhouse and Paul Pampinella played the opening music set and Slap that Cat with band members Andrew Bourget, Greg Krikorian, John Mello, Mark Schmeizl and Mike Bernier closed the show.
Chick Singer Night features local singers and songwriters while raising money to support Boston-area music programs and venues. This year proceeds will benefit the Parish Center for the Arts in Westford.
UPDATED – This story was lightly edited after it was published.