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The Beacon Herald
Harmer playing Factory 163
By MIKE BEITZ

The timing was perfect for Sarah Harmer's return to Stratford.

The Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter, who will perform a solo show at Factory 163 Sept. 26, has been playing a series of small benefit concerts to raise awareness and funds for Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL), the organization she co-founded to help preserve the Niagara Escarpment.

Andrew Shaver was looking for someone to help launch Loftseries: 163, a new concert series at Factory 163 in Stratford.

"It just made sense to connect the dots," said Shaver, who has known Harmer from his university days at Queen's in Kingston, where he hosted a radio show in the late 90s and she performed in a band called Weeping Tile.

Harmer, a Burlington native, has gone on to release several best-selling albums that have been up for for numerous awards, including three Juno nominations for her most recent album Oh Little Fire.

"The fact that we've got a national treasure in Sarah Harmer coming to play in a venue as intimate as Factory 163, it's really quite exciting," said Shaver.

This won't be her first time performing in Stratford. She was here in 2009 as part of a small, "under-the-radar" house concert series Shaver has been promoting for the last few years.

While Factory 163 is a larger venue, the King St. facility still has that intimate feel that makes it ideal for performers like Harmer, he said.

Monday's concert will also feature a solo performance by special guest Andrew Penner, who currently appears in The Grapes of Wrath at the Festival and has his own band, Sunparlour Players.

"There's more energy coming out of that one guy than a lot bands," said Shaver.

Tickets for Monday night's show are $35, and are available at Foster's and the Green Room, or through the Stratford Tourism Alliance website at www.visitstratford.ca/harmer-tickets.php. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the show will go toward PERL, which is currently involved in an Ontario Municipal Board hearing over a new quarry proposed for the Mount Nemo plateau in Burlington. mbeitz@bowesnet.com

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