First Night Virginia celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and along with great regular acts like Abbey Road, Jay and Morwenna and Uncle Henry’s Favorites, this will be the first year that First Night sponsors a parade through Downtown.
Craig Green’s Common Ground Chorus is modeled on Ubuntu: a belief that singing in harmony celebrates diversity and promotes peace. Hmmm. Maybe Virgil Goode should join.
First Night has also commissioned John D’earth to write a piece of music commemorating the anniversary. The Suite for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Ensemble will feature Free Bridge and The Charlottesville High School string ensemble, as well as a newly configured speaking choir to improvise crowd scenes. Performances will be at Christ Episcopal at 7:30pm and 9pm. Go support one of our most creative and prolific musicians. (For more on First Night performances, see cover story).
It is nice to end the year with a note about a new group that is interested in making music with a goal of belonging to a greater community. Craig Green, former Twin Oaks resident and songcatcher, recently completed a Community Choir Leadership training with the Gettin’ Higher Choir, a 300-voice chorus in Victoria, Canada. The experience inspired him to start a new choir in this area. The result, The Common Ground Chorus, had an open session at the Friends Meeting House in December, and they will begin a four-month session under Green’s direction in January that will culminate in two public performances. “If you’ve never experienced the thrill of singing in a choir, or if you’ve always thought of yourself as someone who ‘just can’t sing,’ this is a great way to start. There will be plenty of challenges and solo opportunities for experienced singers, too,” he says.
The choir is modeled on Ubuntu style, a Sub-Saharan African ideology which believes that singing in harmony reminds us to celebrate diversity and to practice deep listening. “As such, it is a path to practicing the craft of building a peaceful world,” Green says. Ubuntu choirs are inclusive, audition-free, community-focused, socially engaged and philanthropic. For more information you can e-mail Craig Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey, I got an e-mail recently: “Rob here from The Nice Jenkins. I have a few questions for you. I’m wondering what people do in order to get you to write about them? The C-VILLE never really gives us any press other than date and time info for local shows. Do you hang out with these bands? Are they your friends? Do you think that we are not dynamic enough? Or not interesting enough? Maybe we are too good. Do you think we are somehow above this paper? Or do these other bands pay to get an article larger than an 8th of a page? Basically…I want a big ass picture in the C-VILLE when we play at Starr Hill or The Ballroom. I think we deserve a little credit for being more than just another lame modern rock band and trying to do something interesting. People always have a good time at our shows. You should come to one and see what we are about. See what’s really going on in Charlottesville.”
Because the squeaky wheel often does get the oil, Rob, this one’s for you: To prove they are not above a plug in Plugged In, here’s a big ass photo of pop-rockers The Nice Jenkins.
Thanks, Rob. The answers to your questions are sometimes, some, no, no, maybe, no, and never. I include this because I think Rob and other musicians do wonder how this article works. I really love this column because this little college town is so chock full of interesting people and incredibly talented musicians and bands of all shapes and sizes that the column often writes itself. The truth is, I do not go out to see bands as often as I would like, but I have three kids, three jobs and I play music three or four nights a week myself. I am here at the C-VILLE because I love to talk about music. In fact, if I see you out and we are not talking about music, we are probably talking about either the weather or the Spanish present perfect subjunctive. In the New Year, if you as a musical entity have anything—show, CD, club event, interesting story—that needs a spot of publicity, please e-mail me at email@example.com. Otherwise, if you do not send me e-mails, I am likely to write a column about the effect of Paul Curreri’s breaststroke on his guitar style, and my editor is going to have a hard time justifying my existence.
Oh, for fans of catchy pop music, go get The Nice Jenkins’ CD, because it is good.