Sarah Grace Photo courtesy of Crosslin Sillcott

When Texas powerhouse performer Sarah Grace hears music or sounds, she sees colors and shapes.

Sarah Grace was born with synesthesia.

“My senses are cross-wired in a way so, when I hear music or sounds, I see colors and shapes,” Sarah said. “It drew me to music and is what got me started as a musician.”

Synesthesia is not a bad thing. Psychology Today magazine calls it a “perceptual experience.” Musicians with synesthesia consider it a gift because music becomes a visual experience, helping them perform better.

Lake Houston will witness the brilliant synesthesia of Sarah Grace and The Soul firsthand when Sarah and her band join another Texas powerhouse, young Ally Venable, and the Ally Venable Band gracing The Bender stage Saturday, April 24, 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Ally Venable Photo courtesy of Ruf Records

“We are excited to have these two young dynamic singers take over The Bender stage for an incredible night of blues,” said Jennifer Wooten, director of The Charles Bender Performing Arts Center and the Humble Civic Center.

Grace is a Houston native, a singer-songwriter with “…a lot of love for music and a big ‘ol’ southern soul,” as she describes herself.

“I started playing guitar when I was in the third grade so I could sing songs the way I wanted to. I freed myself from those darned karaoke tracks!” she said.

Sarah sang. Her sister played drums. Her dad played guitar.

“I never set out specifically to be a performer. As I began playing music, performing was a natural progression for me,” she said. “I’m so grateful for how things have gone. Not planning to be a performer has taken the pressure from what I do, so I have fun playing music.”

There will be “…a big old sound,” Sarah’s words, when Sarah and Ally Venable hit The Bender stage.

“It’s been bottled up for more than a year! I will have horns and a full band all rocking out on the stage together. We’re really excited to get to play for y’all again,” Sarah said.

Sarah was Houston’s pride and joy when she was named a semifinalist during Season 15 of “The Voice.” She made guests appearances on The Bender stage with Louisiana bluesman Kenny Neal in 2019 and at Humble Voice competition during last year’s Humble Rodeo and BBQ Cook-off.

Sarah was set to headline The Bender back in April 2020.

“We thought this show still had a chance of happening,” she said, “but we’re making up for it now.”

“The first time I played there, my English teacher told us a story about how she was involved in the restoration of The Bender,” Sarah said. “A crazy and very cool coincidence. I didn’t know the history until that day, and now I love the place even more.”

The Bender stage will be the first time that these two young, but seasoned, blues women have performed together.

“Ally and I have been in each other’s musical spheres for several years now, but we somehow have never shared a bill,” Sarah said. We have played on many of the same festival lineups and shared many hospitality tents, but this is our first time sharing a stage.”

Sarah is looking forward to performing with Ally. She hints that “…we may have a little surprise in store for y’all.”

“It is difficult to describe my performance style because I really mix it up throughout the evening. No show is like another,” she said. “My band rocks it out. I bare my soul with my songs. I play trumpet and piano/organ through the night. It is dynamic. It is fun. We all leave at the end with a new shared experience.”

She not only is a seasoned performer; Sarah Grace also is a senior at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in downtown Houston where she studies trumpet. This fall, she starts college. She won’t reveal where yet “…but I’ll be getting my undergraduate degree in trumpet performance.”

Before she hits the college scene, Sarah Grace heads for Humble to join Ally Venable with one thought in mind, “I love the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center, and I cannot wait to be back.”

Preview Sarah’s and Ally’s talent on their YouTube channels, on Facebook and Instagram.

Galveston native Hamilton Loomis performs at The Bender on May 14. Brian Holland and Carl Sonny Leyland bring their dueling pianos and Danny Coots’ drums to The Bender July 10.

Filling out the 2021 schedule are the Urban Achievers Brass Band on Aug. 7, Derek Spence paying tribute to George Strait on Sept. 11, the Jade Simmons Experience — Part 2 Oct. 9, and a special City of Humble Holiday Concert with Vicki Yohe and Orchestra Dec. 11.

The newly refurbished Humble Museum, located next door to The Bender, will be open prior to the Sarah Grace and Ally Venable performances. Entry is free.

Socially distanced seating will be practiced so ticket sales are limited. Housekeeping will be on duty to clean commonly touched surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are place throughout The Bender. Concession sales are closed. Sarah Grace and Ally Venable will perform Saturday, April 24, 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 281-446-4140, humblepac.com, or log onto Facebook @Charles Bender Performing Arts Center.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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