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Benefit Concert
Howie Bursen and Sally Rogers this year raised more than $7,800 with their annual Food Bank Benefit Concert held at The Vanilla Bean Café.

POMFRET — The 29th Annual Food Bank Benefit Concert with Howie Bursen and Sally Rogers this year raised more than $7,800.
The concert was broadcast live at The Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret on to more than 200 people.
The Access Agency Emergency Food Pantry Service is available to individuals and families in Windham and Tolland Counties who find themselves in an emergency situation where they run a risk of being without food. One dollar can purchase $10’s worth of food at the State’s Food Bank. For more info:
Beginning in 1992, Bursen has been producing and performing at this annual event. What started out with just Howie and a few instruments has grown to include many talented performers through the years and has become an event that sells out annually. The intimate size of The Vanilla Bean Café (The Bean) has always limited the number of guests and donations each year but has continually raised well over $2,000 annually for Access.
This year the folks at The Bean felt strongly that the benefit should continue, and they partnered with a streaming platform at to do just that. The Bean began the Wish You Were Here Concert Series in 2020 because of the pandemic and a need to keep the live music, well, ‘live’. They began by broadcasting shows on Facebook Live, but recently switched to to create a higher quality viewing experience, and to reach a larger audience. By promoting the show through this platform three weeks ahead of the performance date along with advance ticket sales, Howie and Sally were able to raise more than $7,800 this year from friends and fans all over the globe, not just from the Quiet Corner. broadcasts interactive live performances in Virtual Reality and HD, that patrons can watch on their TV, laptop, tablet, phone, or even a VR headset, and the sound quality is fantastic. Viewers from New Zealand to California and even from a few miles from down the road were able to tune in to watch this high-quality entertaining broadcast.
Due to the pandemic, The Bean was not allowed to have a live audience and could only have a few performers in the building, so Howie Bursen teamed up with his wife Sally Rogers for this event. Sally began her career as a full-time touring musician in 1979, after encouragement from Stan Rogers, the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter. Her travels have since taken her to Europe, China, Hungary and Poland, England and Scotland and all across the U.S.
Howie Bursen is best known for his gravity-defying, triplet-filled, fiddle-tune variations and is certainly one of today’s foremost practitioners of the clawhammer banjo style. Howie is also an excellent singer, song-writer and guitarist, and he makes his living as head wine-maker for Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret.
The Vanilla Bean Café, a popular destination eatery in Pomfret, has been producing live music and benefit shows since their beginnings in 1989. The iconic eatery has become a stop for many touring musicians from around the country and internationally, along with the many talented musicians from throughout New England. The food bank benefit is one of many benefit concerts held throughout the year, and is the longest running benefit show in their performance space.


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