Generosity of Spirit and Mind-Blowing Bands
Charlottesville musicians and music lovers are the best. I know I’m a little biased – being a member of “the band” and all -- but it’s true. And I’m not just talking about talent -- though you have to admit there is an absolutely amazing pool of gifted performers living in and around Cville. I’m talking about character. I’m talking about generosity of spirit.
Charlottesville musicians have always worked together to help others in the community. We’ve raised funds for the homeless and the hungry, for the old and the young. We sing for our supper and your supper and to help feed four-legged friends, too. And we are especially good to one another.
When professional bassist Steve Riggs had an unexpected and life threatening health issue, promoter and sound engineer Chris Munson put together a show with over 30 area musicians to help pay Steve’s hospital bills. Close to a thousand people gathered at Fry’s Spring Beach Club that evening to come to the aid of a friend. It was a true testament to the familial bond shared by musicians and fans here in Cville.
Not only do area musicians and music lovers reach out to support one another and the community, we also support neighborhoods far and wide. For example, this past weekend, 13 professional Charlottesville musicians from varying styles of music joined together with Albemarle County resident Lesly Gourdet to make up one fat fabulous band. The goal: to raise funds for relief and reconstruction in Gourdet’s native Haiti and, of course, to have a little fun in the process performing French-Creole music.
The talent on stage that night was mind-blowing. The line-up of guitarists alone would make your head spin -- Rick Olivarez, Jason Pollock, Thomas Gunn and Jeff Cheers. As if that wasn’t enough fun, four – count ‘em four -- diverse and talented drummers kept the beat: Darrell Rose, Jim Gagnon, Stuart Gunter and Nathan West. Folk singers, I can tell you, are lucky to have an egg shaker.
Matty Metcalf – an absolute monster on accordion -- spiced things up with renowned horn and sax players John D’Earth and Bobby Read while Eddie from Ohio bassist, Mike Clem, held it all together. My friend Maryline Pollock and I danced, shook maracas, rattled cabasas (no egg shaker for me!) and sang back-up in the band. Lesly, normally on bass, took center stage and led the vocals.
The event was a success on so many levels: money was raised for Haiti, local folks danced the night away and over a dozen independent musicians came together to create one very special night of music. The majority of these performers, keep in mind, are full-time musicians. They rely completely on their performances to make a living. Yet all of them gladly and generously gave of their time and energy to help others in need. That’s the power of music, all right, and quite frankly, the norm for Charlottesville musicians and their fans.
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