The YMCA’s Wintertide Collective kicks off its off-season entertainment series a bit early this Saturday, Sept. 1, with a show by Island and nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Ellis Paul.
Mr. Paul was a fixture at Vineyard Haven’s Wintertide Coffeehouse, a popular performance venue for Islanders in the 1980s and 90s. This year marks the first return of both Wintertide and Mr. Paul to the Island.
Mr. Paul is the recipient of 14 Boston Music Awards. His songs can be heard in many films, documentaries, and commercials, and he has sung at Fenway Park for the Red Sox and at the Boston Garden for the Celtics.
He said in a recent interview with The Times that he is looking forward to Wintertide’s return. “I love the Vineyard. It’s a community of artistic people who understand art differently than on the mainland, and I think there’s some magic in starting up an artistic place for it,” he said.
The Wintertide Collective has taken the place of The Base, below the Alexandra Gagnon Teen Center at the YMCA. Sponsored by Comcast and the Alexandra Gagnon Foundation, it is a black-box-style performance space for artists of all sorts that also acts as a recording studio, dance hall, and practice space. It will host shows for national and local talents, including up-and-coming teen musicians like the M.V. Regional High School’s Nate D’Angelo, who will open for Mr. Paul on Saturday.
“The Wintertide Collective idea relates back to the original coffeehouse. It is that kids and the community can come together in a safe, alcohol-free environment. Not only do we want the teens to come and enjoy shows, but also to show them that the community stands in support of their efforts,” said Teen Center director Tony Lombardi.
As well as housing a safe and fun entertainment venue, Wintertide’s goal is to provide educational opportunities for teens interested in the music business. Titled the Wintertide Entrepreneurship Program, the program teaches students about booking shows, promoting and communicating with performers, accounting and marketing, and behind-the-scenes work at concerts, with help from a mentor. A group of students will contribute to sound and lighting for Saturday’s show.
“The kids will ultimately run the place themselves under a mentorship deigned to teach kids how all this happens, rather than having to watch the show and then get up and leave,” said Mr. Lombardi.
Mr. Lombardi and the Wintertide Collective plan to host parties and shows with different Island and nationally acclaimed performers throughout the winter and, with the entrepreneurship program, to give the kids involved increasingly larger roles.
“The bottom line is to provide opportunities that you wouldn’t normally have on an isolated island that will potentially even stimulate future career choices for these kids,” Mr. Lombardi said.
Tickets to the Ellis Paul concert are available for $20 at ticketsmv.com, or for $25 at the door on the day of the show. Advanced tickets for $40 include a pre-show meet and greet at 6:30 pm with refreshments, a chance to meet Mr. Paul, and a limited edition signed CD. A portion of proceeds will benefit the WIntertide Entrepreneurship Program.
Alex’s Place, which includes the Teen Center and Wintertide Collective, is open throughout the school year Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 6 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 2:30 to 11 pm. For more information call 508-696-7171 ext. 128 or visit wintertidecollective.com.