- Wölffer Estate provided the enchanting setting, and the melodic and soothing voice of Beth Arentsen
provided the enchanting vocals and music as part of "Candlelight Fridays" held at the winery on Friday, December 18.
Christian John Wikane and Beth Arentsen are all smiles.
Her performance at the winery is Arentsen's second successful East End appearance this year, as she performed at Guild Hall
this past summer at the invitation of "Hopestock" founder Nona Hendryx
at the group's inauguration concert held at the John Drew Theatre.
Arentsen, a native of Monmouth County, NJ, has spent many years performing in the East Village in Manhattan, and attended the Tisch School of Arts. She commented "I have been playing piano and singing for as long as I can remember. I attended Tisch to study drama and voice, and met and worked with a number of really wonderful musicians, and partnered with a friend with a Masters in Composition. Immediately after college I was signed to an indy label under the Warner Music label." Arentsen also performs in Manhattan clubs Joe's Pub and The Living Room. Fondly, she recalled "However, the first time I played in a concert hall and there was a Steinway just waiting for me to play was a thrill I'll always remember."
According to her East Hampton and Manhattan based music journalist pal, Christian John Wikane
, the Chicago
based NoVo Records signed her to be the front woman of the jazz-funk band, P-1. Crossing all formats and genres, P-1 released two albums ("Step Through NoVo" and "Power"). The band enjoyed commercial radio play and a few of their songs appeared in film and television, including Fox Searchlight's "Trust the Man" and ABC
's "Samantha Who?."
Beth Arentsen offered her C.D. "Sap" and "Nicer" at Friday's event.
Wikane explained, "I've known Beth for a number of years, and was so blown away by her performance at 'Hopestock' I just thought it was a natural to find a way to bring her back to the Hamptons to play in a more intimate setting" - and for that the East End owes Wikane a 'thank-you.'
Arentsen relayed "There came a time when I wanted to record my own songs, even though I wrote songs with P-1, I wanted to pursue a solo career, and tone down the performance levels so that I felt the piano, and other instruments used in my gigs such as the cello, could really be heard, and I could really devote myself to my songwriting."
Commenting on musical influences and personal preferences, Arentsen stated "I am a big fan of country music - Patsy Cline
in particular - Gershwin
and really most piano based genres of music, but I actually do love it all." When asked which artists she would enjoy performing with, male and female, she revealed Bing Crosby
and Annie Lennox
Having released two C.D.'s as a solo artist, ("Sap" in 2004), and her latest 2009 release "Nicer" (self-produced by Arentsen with Lenae A. Harris
, mixed by Eric Yoder
, and mastered by Tony Gillis
), Friday's performance included many of her own songs, including one heartfelt and poignant tune about her hometown entitled "Conquistadora."
Arentsen discussed her music between sets. Photo by Joe Strand
Arentsen proved her skill and command at both the keyboard and vocally. With a powerful but smooth vocal range, her ability to perform a number of covers by Cyndi Lauper
and Annie Lennox
, among others, impressed on attendees that this is one talented lady who appears to easily command the attention of listeners. Of particular note is the cover of Lauper's "True Colors" which Arentsen can claim as her own.
Keeping with the festive atmosphere, and situated next to an enormous Christmas tree, Arentsen performed a number of holiday and traditional carols during her gig on Friday, including a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night."
The 33-year-old Arentsen is currently six months pregnant with her first child (she let on it's a girl - congratulations!), and plans to take a short break after her daughter's birth, and then begin playing festivals hopefully by the summer. This charming and delightful lady has both an impressive voice and repertoire, accompanied by a masterful command of piano. What a treat it will be to have her grace many more East End venues in the future. As Arentsen said "I am really inspired by the Hamptons and just love this area" - well, we hope to see you again soon too.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.