The Rural We: Sarah Kohrs
Sarah Kohrs is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who has been appearing at numerous venues in the Berkshires, including Mission, Gateways Inn, Starving Artist Café and Chocolate Springs. A classically trained pianist, she received a degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she encountered jazz players and fell in love with improvisational jazz. After graduation from Eastman, she earned a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center and practiced law in Boston for several years. Currently she works part-time as an attorney at Cain, Hibbard & Meyers in Great Barrington but much of her time is devoted to her music. On August 3, she will present “Wanda Sings Sarah” at the Mahaiwe Theater in a program which will combine the Berkshires “first lady of song,” Wanda Houston, singing Sarah’s original songs.
I began singing and songwriting when I was in Boston working as an attorney. Before that, I would sing, but I never really trained for it. I’d been writing poetry, and when I started dating a musician, I thought I’d impress him by writing song. The first time I ever performed my original songs was three years ago at the Gypsy Join in Great Barrington. It was noisy, and I thought nobody was paying any attention. A couple came forward because they really wanted to hear me. That was Mark Tuomenoksa, a musician, arranger and composer, and his wife, Iris. From then on, Mark and I started working together.
I began performing at the Egremont Barn and other places, and recorded a CD, “All the Blues I Need.” But I have so many more songs now, and have been experimenting with different sounds and production elements. I’ve changed a lot since then, and after this concert, I want to get going on a second album.
For a long time, Mark kept telling Wanda and me, you have to meet. The first time she and I spoke on the phone, we just hit it off. I went to one of her shows at the Gateways Inn, and ended up having a vocal coaching from her. I played one of my songs for her. She really liked it, and suggested a way to sing a phrase that made a huge difference. I’ve learned so much from working with her.
When Wanda sings my songs, they become new creations. The concert at the Mahaiwe will be a whole program of my original work. Mark did all of the arrangements. We have a killer lineup, including three sax players who are out-of-this-world fantastic. To go from me singing and playing piano solo to having everybody add their high class playing…it’s hard for me to describe what it feels like. I made this thing, but then it becomes theirs as well. That combination is like a brand new life in the world. These musicians understand what I’m trying to say, and take it further than I can take it on my own.
I love exploring with sound and words. For me as a writer, I think a lot about structure, but really my end goal is to have the words and music go in the same direction so I can take the listener on a journey.
Support Rural Intelligence
We have always kept Rural Intelligence free for all our readers but the reality is that we do need the support of readers like you. Did you like what you just read? Do you value the unique content Rural Intelligence provides? Please consider making a donation to support us. Even a small donation helps secure our future!Support Now