I heard about the Violins of Hope about a year ago, but it wasn’t until I attended a presentation about the project two weeks ago, that I fully understood the significance it. The culmination of all of the work to bring Violins of Hope to Birmingham comes together this week when four days of concerts, educational programs and interfaith dialogue surrounding historic violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Yesterday, I got a glimpse of the events when I attended Karim Shamsi-Basha’s Hope, Harmony and History exhibit at the Levite JCC of Birmingham. [Read more…] about Inspiring Violins of Hope events come to Birmingham, Alabama to spread messages of hope
This week’s rewind takes us back to East Lake Market, a small-but-vibrant farmers and crafters market operated by Peer, Inc., a nonprofit, in the parking lot behind East Lake United Methodist Church.
One mission focus of Peer, Inc. is to provide healthy food for the East Lake Community and market opportunities for Alabama farmers.
The interviews and commentary featured in this episode were recorded in June 2016 and the episode was released June 25, 2016.
I usually pay a visit to East Lake Market every Saturday morning during season when I’m in town. East Lake Market is my first stop to pick the locally-grown produce that I don’t have on hand from my own Shine Springs Farm.
In this episode we hear from:
Witt Farms in Hayden
Benny Dixon of Dixon Family Farms in Clanton
Eugenia Wynfrey of Wynfrey Farms in Boaz
Jimmy Carmack of Pure Alabama Honey (several hundred hives) he touches on the challenges in beekeeping
Sister Sniffle: Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp
Kevin Snelson representing Whited Farms at East
Sally Aloca – Executive Director of Peer, Inc., the nonprofit that operates the East Lake Farmers Market at East Lake United Methodist Church
Max Bellmore, a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Max is from Chicago.
Jennifer Freeman, also a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Jennifer is a California native
The East Lake Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from April through October and is located at East Lake United Methodist Church in east Birmingham, Alabama.
I went to jazz singer Kat Edmonson’s concert last Friday night at Samford University. I was blown away by her talent and performance as a singer songwriter and storyteller. According to her bio, she began songwriting at age nine when she wrote a song on the bus while riding to school. She began her professional music career in Austin, Texas in 2002. After performing in the New York City Jazz Festival she relocated to NYC. She also is an NPR favorite. I also got to have a conversation with her after her show not only is she talented, she also is a very gracious artist as well. Enjoy her latest album Way Down Low below:
This past weekend I attended an event called Music We Stand which was an event benefiting The Color of Music organization in Huntsville, Alabama. This event was a showcase performance and panel discussion in front of an all-star music industry cast for songwriters. The event was geared towards aspiring songwriters who were looking for their chance to make it in the music industry or how to make it in the industry.
About the Color of Music:
According to their website: The Color of Music organization is a youth driven with programs and activities geared to motivate kids of all ages. They teach children the values of life through the arts; music, spoken words and visual arts. We believe spending positive and creative time with our youth will help provide a safe avenue for their untapped creativity and keep them off the streets. The organization is for children of all ages that strives to connect young dreams with music industry leaders; giving everyone a chance to live out part, if not all of their dream while working together in year round entertainment. Our professional staff and volunteers are dedicated to the mission. We welcome and facilitate the development of strength and character of all who participate regardless of race, creed or national origin. I hope to give more volunteer hours to this wonderful organization.
Photo: Grammy nominated songwriter Clay Mills who wrote the hit song Beautiful Mess for Diamond Rio and he also is the owner of Songtown a website for songwriters.
I love music and anyone who knows me, knows this. In fact, I once said, if I had to do it all over again, my full time job would be in PR for either a record label or for bands. (Well I have worked with bands on their PR strategies in the past). I have to say that my love of music comes naturally, just riding in the car with my dad one could not help, but love music. I grew up listening to the sounds of Motown that’s the only music my dad allowed to be played in his car. I learned to appreciate Country music at my ma’am maw Kennedy’s house. When I stayed with my grandparents during the summers, our ritual was to watch The Grand Ole Opry reruns.
The City of Birmingham used to host a three-day music festival called City Stages and I would plan my summers around the event because I attended every night. The event was held in downtown Birmingham and included all genres of music. The 21-year event ended in 2009 after some financial trouble. After the event ended, to me it has felt like the City has been missing something with no major music festival to attend until last year when the Sloss Fest Entertainment and Music Festival began. The event was held at the historic landmark Sloss Furnaces and it didn’t disappoint. I got the opportunity to attend this year. The festival was a learning opportunity for me because I had not listened to the music of some of the bands that played.
Alabama has been on a fast track in the music industry lately so, it was exciting to again see Birmingham on display in the form of a music festival. Our city was filled to the brim with visitors from all over who converged to listen to bands such as Ben Harper, Death Cab for Cutie, Dylan LeBlanc and Ray Lamontagne.
The event took me back to the days when you could hardly move through the crowd at City Stages. In my opinion, an event like Sloss Fest only continues the positive renaissance and reboot of my hometown in the last couple of years. I tell people all of the time that I was a volunteer on committees for Operation New Birmingham and the things happening now are the things we WANTED to happen all those years ago when we talked about our city during committee meetings. How wonderful it is to see the transformation. Birmingham continues to receive accolades from all over about the quality of life, food scene and the strides it’s made in economic growth. Most who visit and spend any time in Birmingham come to know this, something I knew all along.
Proudly, I am one of the biggest cheerleaders of Birmingham, so my hat’s off to the organizers of Sloss Fest. Thank you also for bringing (back) a great music festival that adds more Magic to the Magic City.