Local band Steel Rail Express, which won the 2009 Colgate Country Showdown in Augusta, will present a free concert Friday, May 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center, Route 3. The concert is part of the eighth annual Festival of Art, sponsored by the center’s Senior College.

The band is led by Michael Ponder with Paul Vachon, Tim Woitowitz, Joel Watson and Jennifer Nittolo, who joined this spring. They play a mix of classic rock, country and funk that makes them a first choice for dance parties.

On March 29, Steel Rail Express was recognized by the Maine Legislature and played the National Anthem for the opening of both chambers. Woitowitz said the band considered it a great honor.

“I’m from New Jersey, and they had Bruce Springsteen do it. Here in Maine, they chose us,” he said.

Admission to the concert, as for the entire Festival of Art, is free.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.