Elisha Sherman, Communications and Development Coordinator

(860)450-7400, ext. 7456 / [email protected]

January 17, 2024


“The Red Hot Banjo Wizard”, Howie Bursen joined by Sally Rogers, Martin Grosswendt, Bennett and Lorraine Hammond return to the Vanilla Bean Café, located at 450 Deerfield Road in Pomfret on Saturday, January 27th for their thirty-second year performing to benefit the Access Food Pantries: Site-Based and Mobile. This local tradition is an evening of singing, laughter, hot licks on guitar, fiddle, and banjo. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. and admission is $25. The Vanilla Bean is a great place to shake off the winter blahs and will have music that will lift your spirits with wonderful desserts and beverages ranging from cappuccinos to fine wines to purchase and enjoy as well. Howie Bursen, who has coordinated and performed this event for 32 years, will also be joined by Sally Rogers, “Nightingale with a Voice of as Clear as the Queens of Diamonds”, Martin Grosswendt “Zen Guitar Master” with Bennett Hammond, “Man of Mystery” and Lorraine Hammond, “Lady of the Rose in the Mortar”, says Howie. Grosswendt has also performed with Howie for 32 years for the Northeast Benefit Concert of the Access Food Pantries and is guaranteed to entertain the audience.

“We like to think globally and locally and this is our way of giving back… we ‘Pomfretutians’ are mighty lucky to have these four making music in our midst,” says Howie. “We hold this event to raise money for our Northeast Connecticut Emergency Food pantries at Access. Access helps feed our neighbors who don’t have enough money to buy food for themselves – or their children … the Food pantries can make the difference between hunger and health,” says Howie. All proceeds from this concert will be used to buy food from the Connecticut Food Bank. Each $25 donated to Access by purchasing a ticket will buy more than $250 worth of food from the CT Food Bank for distribution to those in need throughout northeast CT. Last year the concert raised over $4,000.

Access Community Action Agency is designated by the federal and state government as the anti-poverty agency in northeast Connecticut. Access provides food, affordable housing, job readiness services, and other pathways to economic self-reliance for vulnerable limited-income families and individuals throughout the region. Learn more about Access by visiting