Sara Beck will perform on Aug. 20 at One World Coffeehouse.
Sara Beck will perform on Aug. 20 at One World Coffeehouse. (Submitted photo /)

Sara Beck has been a songwriter and performer in Nashville, Tenn., for the last 15 years, but this Ellicott City native regularly finds her way back home to Howard County.

She's back again performing for the One WorldCoffeehouse series on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center.

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Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, this series founded in 1999 has presented such eclectic musical offerings as jazz, folk, Celtic and even a medieval chorus.

Beck and her acoustic guitar perform for the series on a regular basis.

"I have been fortunate to play there every summer for the last 11 or 12 years," Beck said during a recent phone interview from Nashville.

Songwriter keeps many balls in the air

Sara Beck will perform at the One World Coffeehouse in Columbia

She added that something setting the upcoming concert apart from previous appearances is that it will be the first time she shares the stage there with her musician parents, Scott and Vickie Beck, who are organizers of this Columbia series.

Beck said she and her parents will perform separate sets, but also will perform together for portions of the concert.

Of course, playing music with them is not exactly something new.

"I grew up making music with just them," said Beck, recalling her childhood.

Indeed, this is an intensely musical family. Sara's sister, Heather, is a frequent performer at Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia, where Broadway musicals are the norm.

"Heather is a dynamic belter and I'm more understated, but we come from the same household," Beck observed.

That understated quality promises to really come across at this weekend's concert, because Beck said she will mostly be playing songs from her sixth album, "A Simple Thing," a spare recording featuring only acoustic guitar and vocals.

The recently released "A Simple Thing" was produced in her home studio with musician Park Chisolm, who is her husband. He also is the lead guitarist with Kevin Costner and Modern West.

It turns out that movie star Costner is also a musician, and Beck has been the opening act for him dozens of times in the last few years. In fact, later this month Beck opens for Costner's group at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va.

Sara Beck somehow manages to balance all of that recording and touring activity with her home life. She's the mother of two small children, one of whom could be heard in the background throughout this phone interview.

Beck also is a Doctoral candidate atVanderbilt University, where her interest in cognitive psychology specifically investigates how children's social behavior is affected by group singing and movement.

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In that regard, she and another Vanderbilt student produced an album of songs for children titled "Join in the Song."

A 1997 graduate of Centennial High School, Beck's performing career dates back to when she and her high school friends had a band called Iapetus.

That early musical activity was in addition to being really busy with high school sports. Beck played field hockey and was a member of the 1995 state championship team.

Asked about what first got her into music and what has kept her there, Beck replied: "The thingthat brought me to music was passion, and my technique evolved as a singer. I always had a real desire and a real need to make music, and it's a kind of continuity between the different records, styles and backdrops I've enjoyed."

Sara Beck performs on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. Tickets are $20, $10 for youth 5- 18, free for children under 5. Call 410-381-0097 or go to www.uucolumbia.net/concerts

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