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Valerie Nelson of Beadazzled Beads, 2002 Central St., has found a way to beat the season’s winter and economic blues. Bob Coleman, son of the late Milt Coleman, an Evanstonian and “life-long music-lover,” and his family have donated to Ms. Nelson and her eclectic vintage bead and jewelry shop the funding for a series of six live music nights, to encourage the community to get to know her and her store and to provide some warm, pleasant evenings with wine, snacks and live music.
Mr. Colman said he is “very happy” to be able to do something to honor his father’s great love of music. “He was a subscriber to the Lyric Opera and to the Chicago Symphony for years,” he said. His father began learning to play piano by ear at the age of 6, by listening to his sisters’ lessons. He eventually began to play in local bands and formed a group of his own, earning money to pay for his college education. His son said he wanted to use this inheritance for something to do with music; it made sense to him to do something for the community as well. With these Beadazzled Music Nights, Ms. Nelson, the musicians, and the members of the public who attend the no-cover, no-fee evenings all benefit.
At the first musical evening, held on Dec. 2, the store was set up with small tables, each with a couple of chairs, an attractive tablecloth, and a bead-stringing tray – “in case guests feel like making something while they’re listening,” said Ms. Nelson. The big worktables usually filling the body of the store had been tucked into the back and laden with cookies, cheese and crackers, and several bottles of wine.
Members of the band welcomed the guests, some of whom had seen the flyer or the “Music Night” notice on the Beadazzled website, www.beadcentral.net and others who had heard about the event by word of mouth. The group for the night was “Country n’ Blues, Down Home Tunes” band DP and the AlleyCats, made up of husband-and-wife team Don Pasqualini (acoustic and electric guitars and dobro) and Judy Jones-Pasqualini (acoustic guitar and mandolin) and Craig LoBo (electric and standing bass). Vocals were performed by the Pasqualinis. Mr. Pasqualini played blues, he said, for many years, before he came to feel an affinity for bluegrass and country. The couple writes many of their own songs, influenced, they say, by a number of great musicians – among them, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jim Reeves – and that night played a solid selection of cover tunes that carried to advantage with the small shop’s surprisingly good acoustics.
Ms. Nelson, a ballet dancer by training who worked at the store before buying it about a year and a half ago, presented two jazz music nights even before Mr. Colman offered this opportunity, one about a year ago and one in February.
“I love music. And for me, the arts combine,” she said. “The lines and angles in beads are like dance [in which] you can see all kinds of geometrical patterns created by the bodies. The feeling it evokes is like music, too. The feelings they evoke are similar.” She says she likes people coming in to experience beads and music together.
Ms. Nelson says plans for the rest of the series are in the works. The next one, tentatively set for late January, will most likely be jazz, and, she says she is working on a classical night near Valentine’s Day.