Whether you decide to spend your New Year’s Eve with talented student filmmakers, passionate performing artists, or rocking out to big band sounds, you’re guaranteed to ring in 2013 with a newfound love of Charlottesville’s arts scene. First Night is an annual “celebration of the arts” that began in Charlottesville in 1983 with dozens of family-friendly happenings Downtown. If you decide to forgo these events, you’ll still have plenty of art to choose from—galleries, theaters and venues across town are showcasing art of their own. Here’s our round-up of events to kick off your countdown with creativity.
With sounds ranging from Tycho’s ambient melodies to Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic war cries, Charlottesville’s music scene rocked in 2012. New Year’s Eve will be no exception.
In Vivo String Quartet
3PM & 4:15PM, CitySpace | Part of First Night
If string’s your thing, check out the four talented Charlottesville High School students that comprise In Vivo String Quartet. The award-winning teenagers—a cellist, violinist, and two violists—will perform a variety of classic and contemporary arrangements as well as more festive tunes.
Skyline Harmony Chorus
3PM & 4:15, The Haven | Part of First Night
Ever heard a barbershop chorus comprised entirely of women? Hailing from the greater Charlottersville area, this multi-generational group of ladies will sing your favorite numbers in close harmony a cappella.
3PM & 4:15, Omni Hotel Ashlawn-Highlands| Part of First Night
A master African drummer, Darryl Rose has performed his rhythmic art with great artists including Dave Matthews Band. In this special performance, he offers hands-on lessons to kids and adults alike.
3PM & 4:15, | Part of First Night
Rhythmic harmonies and skilled instrumentation characterize the work of the four band members of this traditional bluegrass group.
The Two Timers
3PM & 4:15, First Methodist Untied Church – Main Sanctuary | Part of First Night
This pair of students from Charlottesville High School groove with blues, jazz, and a lot of talent.
6:15 & 7:30, Christ Church – Meade Hall | Part of First Night
Inspired by the rhythm and song of African chants, Ban Caribe’s music blends Afro-Cuban, Latin, Caribbean and Rhythm & Blues into a soulful performance.
6:15 & 7:30, Grace Covenant Church | Part of First Night
Solo performance artist Barb Martin writes and performs her jazz and blues songs with wit and authenticity.
CVHAM Blues Review
6:15 & 7:30, Main Street Arena Upper Level | Part of First Night
The Central Virginia Health Alliance for Musicians raises awareness and funds through pure entertainment. Watch Sonshine Rivers and the gang sing the blues for a great cause.
Dr. Levine & the Dreaded Blues Lady
6:15 & 8:45, The Haven | Part of First Night
Acoustic blues from the ‘20s and ‘30s take center stage with the energetic performance of this eclectic duo.
Greg Howard Uptet
7:30 & 8:45, United Methodist Church – Main Sanctuary | Part of First Night
This fun and funky jazz band includes Charlottesville favorites trumpeter John D’Earth, African percussionist Darrell Rose, drummer Michael Taylor and flutist Gina Sobel, led by Chapman Stick player and composter Greg Howard.
7:30 & 8:45, CitySpace | Part of First Night
Charlottesville native Billy Caldwell calls his blend of classic rock, Americana and R&B “Roots & Roll.” Catch his performance to get a taste of Jack Johnson-esque guitar and catchy melodies.
7:30 & 8:45, Main Street Arena, Main Floor | Part of First Night
Get ready to dance! This group of conservatory-trained bluegrass musicians will put a country twist on the most memorable hits of the 80s. The mash-up of big hair band classics with banjo, mandolin, and lonesome vocals will get you moving.
“88 Keys” Wilson
5:30-8:30PM, Fellini’s #9 on West Market Street
At 86 years old, Wilford “88 Keys” Wilson still tears up the keyboard every Monday night at Fellini’s #9. On New Year’s Eve, join Charlottesville’s piano man and celebrate with champagne toasts every hour until midnight.
Houston Ross Trio
9PM, Miller’s on the Downtown Mall
Jams continue downtown hangout Miller’s. Monday regulars will recognize the Houston Ross Trio, whose members include Charles Owens on sax and Jeff Ladderback on bass, as they deliver three-part funk in cool style.
The Infamous Stringdusters
7:30PM, The Jefferson Theater
With their own music festival, record label, and critical acclaim, the five bluegrass artists of The Infamous Stringdusters had a prolific 2012. Kiss it goodbye with the high energy and creativity of this improvisational string band. VIP tickets include hors d’oeuvres, exclusive use of the Jefferson main balcony, and a champagne toast.
Salute to Swing: A Big Band Experience
6:15 & 7:30, Omni Hotel Ballroom | Part of First Night
Hear that big band sound! The hallmark sounds of the ‘40s and ‘50s are recreated by this complex group, which includes five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, string bass, piano, guitar, drums and vocals.
Muse & Dunn
8:45 & 10PM, First United Methodist Church | Part of First Night
This Irish-Scottish music experience comes to C’ville with this spirited duo’s performance on fiddle and piano.
Eli Cook Band
8:45 & 10PM, Christ Church – Meade Hall | Part of First Night
Join local Eli Cook and a power trio for smoking-hot blues and cool rock & roll.
ACME Swing Mfg. Co.
8:45 & 10PM, Omni Hotel Ballroom | Part of First Night
“If Wile E. Coyote and Cab Calloway had a love child, it would be ACME Swing Mfg. Co.” This talented octet will perform hot jazz numbers with a speakeasy feel.
10PM & 11:15, Main Street Arena – Main Floor | Part of First Night
Rock out while the ball drops! In a high-octane performance that will include disco dance music, groovy costumes, and outrageous hair, Groove Train will set the stage for your year-ending dance party.
Charlottesville’s wealth of talented actors and actresses aren’t the only ones on stage this New Year’s Eve. Raise your glass to the performance chops of comedians, storytellers and local talent as they create new worlds before you.
The Dreamtime Project
3PM & 4:15PM, Main Street Arena, Upper Level | Part of First Night
Jim Gagnon weaves tales of world myths and epic folklore using African drums, Australian didgeridoos, and Native American wind flutes.
Bent Theater Improv Comedy
7:30PM & 10PM, The Haven | Part of First Night
Bent Theater’s team of spontaneous, hilarious performers will take audience suggestions and create comedic scenes on the spot.
A Chorus Line
9PM, Live Arts Theater, on Water Street
This special performance of Broadway’s longest-running musical includes a post-show champagne toast. Join director Matt Joslyn and his cast of passionate singer/dancers as they vie for a spot in a musical chorus and the chance to live their dreams.
Award-winning students serve up shows that celebrate our community.
Short Film Showcase
6:15 & 7:30, Lighthouse Studio | Part of First Night
Lighthouse Studio, the local arts center that teaches teens and children how to make films, offers a serving of some of the best student films of 2012. Award-winning documentaries, narratives, animations and experimental films await—get in early
because the house is always packed!
Appreciate the beauty of dance from front row or don your own dancing shoes—either way, C’ville’s got you covered.
Excerpts from The Nutcracker
3PM & 4:15, Christ Church – Meade Hall | Part of First Night
This special performance by the Charlottesville Ballet is designed for young children and their families. After the artists twirl through excerpts from the holiday classic The Nutcracker, viewers can meet and greet the dancers and learn more about the
9PM-1AM, Charlottesville Tango
Join Charlottesville’s and Richmond’s for appetizers, champagne, tango and celebration! Bust out your fancy footwork and make new friends at this special milonga, a social dance for Argentinian tango.