The long and winding road

The long and winding road

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).

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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 seedsofharmony@gmail.com.

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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 pluggedin@c-ville.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.

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Oh, for fans of catchy pop music, go get The Nice Jenkins’ CD, because it is good.

Posted In:     Arts

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The long and winding road

Ace: Jefferson Park Avenue maintains the same name even though it makes two sharp turns to the left. Can you help decipher why JPA runs as it does?—Street Cred

Cred, confusing street maps have long been a contentious issue for Ace, who has often found himself lost when trailing a case down Main Street, which becomes University Avenue and then Ivy Road, or Emmet Street, which eventually is engulfed by Route 29 (and what is this about a Seminole Trail?). But JPA is unique, in that instead of changing its name while maintaining a straight path like the aforementioned routes, JPA snakes its way south of the University and maintains its name while twice changing course. The road breaks left as it meets Emmet Street near Scott Stadium, and turns left sharply again at its intersection with Maury and Fontaine avenues.

   Mr. Jefferson originally conceived the old Lynchburg Road (now JPA) as the entrance route into his new University. This vision was made impossible by University expansion, but JPA is still used as an entrance into Charlottesville, so its confusing course could be a diversionary tactic against invading Hokies and Heels from the south. However, considering that the folks from Blacksburg not only found their way to Scott Stadium this fall, but also made the ’Hoos appear lost in their own backyard during a 52-14 thumping, Ace figures there must be a more compelling explanation for JPA’s unusual trajectory.

   Indeed, after sniffing around the offices of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) and the Albemarle-Charlottesville Histori-cal Society, Ace learned that the three branches of JPA might very well have been different streets at some point. However, these streets were likely unified under one name as they were widened to create the foundation for a steam rail and later an electric trolley. That conveyance carried residents from Downtown and the University area along what is now the median of JPA to the Fry’s Spring Clubhouse resort roughly at around the turn of the 20th century.

   Further inquiry revealed a most interesting nugget of info: “Part of the reason Parks and Recreation has had trouble growing trees in the JPA median is that the substructure of the trolley still exists under the grass,” says Neil Currie, who, though only an intern in the NDS office, seems to know a whole helluva lot.

   So not only is JPA more than one road, it can support more than one form of transportation (City planners, take note). Still, Cred, Ace knows that life often comes at us with confusing issues. When faced with these dilemmas, Ace has learned that there’s no point looking for a straight answer.

Posted In:     News

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Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

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