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Fairbanks singer-songwriter Susan Grace merges love of environment with music

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Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2010 5:15 pm | Updated: 1:22 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS - Susan Grace has been singing all her life. Whether singing her childhood friends out to play, passing the time on long road trips before there were iPods or singing along with some of her favorite folk artists on her old transistor radio, the local singer-songwriter can’t get enough music in her life.

She ventured to Fairbanks in 1985 from the Detroit area while visiting an old college roommate.

Since stepping foot on Alaska soil, Grace said, she’s felt at ease in the boreal forest she calls home and has led a full life while dedicating time to working for educational and environmentally focused nonprofit organizations around town. She even made time to tour with the band Outlaw Women and found the popular Camp Habitat.

She’s managed to blend each of her passions together in a fulfilling and far-reaching career.

Grace is an educator.

She is an environmentalist. She is even a camp counselor. Above all, she said, she is a musician.

“They’re all connected,” Grace said. “My passions have been all wrapped together and it comes out in my music.”

Grace’s strong background in traditional music comes through in her songs, which have a familiar, easy sing-a-long style, spiced with a little hope and even some humor.

Her message of hope in her latest album, “Come Into the Light,” comes from the heart and touches on her own life transitions. This fourth album reflects battling with a genetic kidney disease, celebrating recovery, coming through the darkness, coming back into her life and, above all, returning to music.

The album is dedicated to Sue Post, Grace’s “kidney sister” who donated a kidney to Grace. “She’s given me the opportunity to keep going, keep living and keep singing,” Grace said. “This album is a little different than my former album, but I think it’s one of my best.” In true old coffeehouse folk tradition, the release party and concert scheduled for Saturday night will feel like a group of friends sitting around a cozy setting. Grace will also be joined by a long list of local guest performers, including Pat Fitzgerald, Robin Dale Ford, Alex Clarke and Marcia Trainor. “People come into the room not knowing one another and leave as friends. There is such power and unity in singing together, if we could all just do it more often,” Grace said.

The concert is also serving as a fundraiser for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks’ Green Team, which will provide environmental workshops and speakers during the next year.

Contact staff writer Rebecca George at 459-7504.

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