Hinesburg residents and surrounding community members have been sharing their love of performing and appreciating live music for generations. This month, The Hinesburg Record took a look at some of the local legends who enjoy sharing their musical talents and who are encouraging others to do the same.
As a long-time musician based in Hinesburg, Rufus Patrick founded the Hinesburg Artist Series in 1997. Rufus is the artistic director of the HAS, which includes the South County Chorus, the Hinesburg Community Band and the a cappella group In Accord. Over the years, the HAS has allowed him to “meet people from other states, other schools … the network just grows. It really is a huge community. It keeps [me] young,” and it continues to grow and change every year. Rufus’s years of directing has allowed him to pass much of what he knows down to the those looking to learn. “The old line is, you always want your students to be better than you are,” and according to Rufus, “it works that way.” With the help of the HAS, people who hadn’t played or sang in 10 to 20 years are “not only playing again, but they’re realizing that they used to be good.” Rufus has watched young students go on to do great things, and others who haven’t played in years come back to life. He is always encouraging others to do the same and get involved in Hinesburg’s rich musical community. If you’d like to join in on the fun, visit hinesburgartistseries.org to find out when the next rehearsal is. The chorus and band are always welcoming newcomers with no auditions, fees or dues required.
“It’s just singing for the sake of singing … it’s a healing thing.”
If you are searching for a different way to get involved in Hinesburg’s musical community, then look no further than Jody Albright. Jody is a jazz and blues vocalist, voice instructor, and more recently, circle-singing leader. Beyond her involvement in a local blues band, the Bluesburgers, Jody also teaches circle-singing. Circle-singing is an improvisational group exercise in which a leader teaches melodies to members of the circle. As group members embody the rhythm and sound of the music, the exercise becomes meditative and spiritual in nature, bonding the group. Jody divulges that the main “goal of [circle-singing] is to help people feel confident enough to lead.”Jody loves circle-singing specifically because it’s not a performance, as performing can be intimidating for those who haven’t grown up singing. “It’s just singing for the sake of singing … it’s a healing thing.” If you are interested in learning more about singing in a classroom setting, Jody is teaching a Fundamentals of Singing class at CCV this spring. If you would like to take part in a circle-singing session, attend an upcoming session on Feb. 10, 3-4:30 p.m. at the Hinesburg Town Hall, or on Feb. 24, 3 p.m. at the Montpelier River Rock School.A fellow Bluesburgers band member, Dan Silverman, is a local trombonist whose jazz group, the Sixth Finger of Jazz, often collaborates their performances with local singers, dancers and poets. Dan and his co-performers love to play, but most musicians find themselves having to secure an unrelated day job to pay the bills. “If I could live my life the way I want to, I would be playing music all the time, but it just doesn’t pay.” Despite the financial strains, Dan and his fellow band members have found sustainable ways to foster their love of music. One of these ways is in the form of the Sixth Finger of Jazz, a coalition of local musicians who gather one Thursday of every month at the Bristol Bakery & Café.
These jazz sessions are not only fun for the players, but for everybody who stops by. Less experienced musicians who are looking to practice are encouraged to come and sit in with the band. Dan promotes this because “The whole point [of music] is to feel happy. It’s scary to play in front of people if you’re not used to it.” If you’re jumping at the chance to play with talented, friendly jazz musicians, or you’re simply excited to listen, stop by the Bristol Bakery & Café and inquire as to when the next performance by the Sixth Finger of Jazz will be. Alternatively, if you’re looking to stay warm inside this winter, but still want to support local musicians, look out for Dan’s newly released album “Early Heroes.”
Young or old, shy or bold, Hinesburg’s welcoming, talented music community has a place for your involvement. Whether you prefer casual appreciation or you’re looking to hone your skills, don’t hesitate to get yourself out there — there’s plenty in store.