LIVE! in NWA: Versatile Guitarist Ben Harris Adds New Gig As SoNA GM

Ben Harris. (Courtesy Photo/SoNA)

Music lovers might know Ben Harris best on the performance side of a stage, but the versatile guitar player has a new gig, announced last week. He is now the general manager of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.

Harris grew up playing blues, folk and rock in Pine Bluff, earned a BA in Music from UALR -- where he studied jazz and classical guitar -- worked in the Jazz Studies department at the University of New Orleans, and then moved to Fayetteville where he earned a Master of Music degree in Composition in 2008.

Along the way, he's played with people like Bob Dorough, John Oates and Claire Holley and opened for the likes of B.B. King, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marcia Ball, Patrice Pike and Eddie Money.

Harris joined the SoNA family in 2012 as its production manager before transitioning to director of operations and annual giving and now to general manager. The new job involves planning and production of all orchestra performances and events, as well as educational outreach and community engagement.

"For a decade, Ben has been a steadying force for SoNA," says Riley Nicholson, SoNA executive director. "He is the essential behind-the-scenes talent that makes our shows run smoothly and efficiently. This comes from not only a down-to-earth and hardworking sensibility, but also a deep understanding and passion for our artform. I am honored to call him my colleague."

"As SoNA continues its growth trajectory," Harris says, "this new role will help in our ability to take on more endeavors, positioning us for success as we look to an exciting future."


• Arlen Hlusko, 8 p.m. Feb. 4 ($18-$25), The Momentary, 507 S.E. "E" St. 367-7500,


• Open Mic Night, 7-10:30 Feb. 3, Moonbroch, 117 W. Walnut St. 278-2500.

• Thursday Karaoke, 7-11 p.m. Feb. 3, Hapa's Hawaiian Bar & Grill, 105 S. Third St. 633-8213.


• Sprungbilly performs at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 31; there's an open mic night starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 1; drink and draw starts at 8 p.m. Feb. 2; and there's an open bluegrass jam at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at Chelsea's Cafe, 10 Mountain St. Free. 253-8231;

• Jenna & Tony perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 4; and Patti's Drag Brunch happens at 1 p.m. Feb. 5 at Wanderoo Lodge & Bar, 216 W. Van Buren. 363-6755;

• Sierra Ferrell performs at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 ($35); Lyle Lovett performs at 7:30 p.m. March 23 ($85); and the Marshall Tucker Band plays at 7:30 p.m. March 25 ($79-$89) at the Eureka Springs City Auditorium, 36 S. Main St. 253-7788;


• Jer's Itty Bitty Big Jazz Band plays at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30; John Eldon plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 1; Ben Harris performs at 5 p.m. Feb. 2; JerGriffin plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 3; Six Twelve Sip-N-Paint happens at 7 p.m. Feb. 4; and Gavin Sumrall performs at 8 p.m. Feb. 5 at Six-Twelve Coffeehouse, 3980 W. Wedington Drive. 856-6382;

• Lost Breed & DJ Raquel perform at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 2 ($10); Dawson Hollow plays at 8 p.m. Feb. 3 ($10); Honeyjack plays happy hour at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 ($8); Jukeboxx performs at 9:15 p.m. Feb. 4 ($10); and 90 LB Wrench plays at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 5 ($10) at George's Majestic Lounge, 519 W. Dickson St. 527-6618;

• Comic Trey Kennedy brings his "Are You For Real? Tour" to town at 7 p.m. Feb. 5; and the Sullivan Fortner Trio performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St. 443-5600;


• Tyler Braden plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 ($8-$10); Huser Brother Band plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 ($8-&$10); and Arkansauce plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 ($15-$18) at The Majestic, 817 Garrison Ave. 551-2424;

• The fourth annual Brewery Chili Cookoff happens at noon Feb. 5 at Fort Smith Brewing Co., 7500 Fort Chaffee Blvd. Tickets are $12 at 242-3722;

• The Cadillac Three with Ben Chapman performance set for Feb. 4 ($20-$30) has been postponed; That Arena Rock Show starts at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 ($15-$25); Frank Foster performs Feb. 18 ($20-$27.50); Cheat Codes perform Feb. 20 ($22-$27); Tab Benoit plays at 8 p.m. March 10 ($30-$39); and Candlebox performs at 8 p.m. March 17 ($25-$39) at Temple Live, 200 N. 11th St. 222-6186;

• Lyle Lovett brings his acoustic show to Fort Smith at 8:30 p.m. March 22 at ArcBest Performing Arts Center, 55 S. Seventh St. 788-8932;


• Simeon Basil plays at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 at Black Apple Hard Cider, 321 E. Emma Ave. Free. 751-0337;


• Tickets ranging from $29 to $42.50 went on sale Jan. 21 for Steel Panther with Any Given Sin March 22 at Temple Live, 200 N. 11th St. in Fort Smith. 222-6186;

• Tickets ranging from $36 to $60.50 went on sale Jan. 21 for Fitz and the Tantrums and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, coming June 23 to Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers.

• Tickets are on sale at the AMP for The Bandwagon Tour with headliners Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town and featuring The Cadillac Three May 8 at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Tickets are $40-$138.50. Also on sale are tickets for Tim McGraw, April 29; for KING + COUNTRY, May 21; Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, June 9; Steely Dan with Steve Winwood, June 10; REO Speedwagon and Styx, with Loverboy, June 13; Backstreet Boys, June 17; Chicago and Brian Wilson, June 21; Matchbox 20 with The Wallflowers, June 24; 5 Seconds of Summer, June 28; Keith Urban, Aug. 18; Morgan Wallen, Aug. 26; and Goo Goo Dolls, Sept. 18.

• Tickets for Casting Crowns in concert at 7 p.m. March 24 at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock are on sale. Opening acts will be We Are Messengers and Jonathan Traylor. Tickets range from $19.75 to $89.75, on sale at the arena box office and

• Tickets are on sale for Shinedown in concert April 29 at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock. Opening acts will be The Pretty Reckless and Diamante. Tickets range from $39.50 to $79.50, on sale at the Arena box office and

• Tickets are on sale for a concert by Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams at 8 p.m. May 23 at Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock. Prices range from $71.99 to $101.99 at

• Tickets are also available for Weird Al Yankovic's Unfortunate Return of the Ill-Advised Vanity Tour May 31 at Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock. Tickets are $39-$79 at

Send info about your upcoming concerts and events to Becca Martin-Brown, Features editor, at [email protected].