As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
When we say “The Chatham Experience” we really mean just that. This is your chance to experience some of the BEST Chatham County has to offer–reveling in our musical history, bringing it forward, melding in other folk traditions, being a part of creating something brand new. Chatham County is a community forged by creativity in so many ways–and we’ll be celebrating that in fine style.
This shindig, sponsored by Opus Financial Advisors, features musical performances by Chatham Rabbits, Tommy Edwards & The Bluegrass Experience, Diali Cissokho, and special guest students! You’ll hear original music, traditional songs you know and love, folk music, tried and true bluegrass, West African roots music – all in the funky, distinctive backdrop of the Chatham Beverage District. In case you don’t know these local musical powerhouses, keep reading. Because these folks are special–and this may the only time you see them all on stage together.
Who they are: Sarah and Austin of the Chatham Rabbits are Chatham County folks, Bynum to be precise. And Bynum is where their story began many years ago when a small community of musicians formed a band called The Chatham Rabbits. Rabbits were a big part of the local economy in Chatham some time back, even bigger than turkey hunts. “Nothing that falls victim to the hunter’s gun throughout the entire confines of North Carolina can compare with the Chatham rabbit.” – Chatham Record, 1906 Nov 22. When Sarah and Austin made the connection to bluegrass music, Chatham County, and Bynum, they decided to bring that history forward and celebrate the old-time music they loved to listen to: Chatham Rabbits were re-imagined. Sarah and Austin recently left their regular day jobs to make their music full time and travel to perform.
Why they care about Artists-in-Schools: Before she was a full-time Rabbit, Sarah served as the music teacher at Carolina Friends School and at the Montessori Community School of Durham. She knows just how valuable the arts are for growing hearts and developing brains. Sarah says, “Chatham County is huge–we have Bennett all the way to Briar Chapel. We’re happy to be part of this fundraising initiative to help bring the arts to ALL of Chatham County.”
The Bluegrass Experience
Who they are: The Bluegrass Experience is tried and true Chatham County–a beloved crew fronted by Tommy Edwards and celebrating their 48th anniversary with us. And they’ve got some serious street cred locally and worldwide. A whole lot of folks remember the days when The Bluegrass Experience played every Thursday night at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill. That was a follow-up gig to winning the World’s Championship Bluegrass Band in 1972 at Union Grove’s Fiddler’s Convention. These days, you can see them around Chatham and annually at the IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass event in Raleigh, but you can only catch the anniversary crew–current and former members coming together–once a year. And this is it.
Why they care about Artists-in-Schools: All the band members are supportive of our Artists-in-Schools Initiative, and it’s particularly special to Tommy. He taught in the Chatham County Schools for many years, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a day when he doesn’t run into a former student. His wife Cindy gets the top spot, but after that, arts and education are two of Tommy’s biggest loves in life.
Who he is: Love brought Diali Cissokho to Chatham County from his native country of Senegal, moving here with his wife about 10 years ago. Diali is a griot, combining singing, kora, drums, and tales into a unique and beautiful style of storytelling. Melding West African folk music and American southern folk, he and other regional musicians have formed the band Kaira Ba. They’ve played at Shakori Hills Music Festival, OcraFolk Music Festival, and the Haw River Ballroom, just to name a few. At The Chatham Experience, Diali will be joined onstage by the fabulous John Westmoreland.
Why he cares about Artists-in-Schools: Diali is one of the hearts of our Artists-in-Schools Initiative. In arts residencies at Bennett K-8 School, Virginia Cross Elementary, Chatham Middle, and Perry Harrison Elementary school, he has shared stories, music, and the individual discipline and group commitment necessary to making art–or anything–in community.
Bonus: Smelt Art Gallery and Chatham Beverage District
Music is just one of the creative outlets in Chatham. Smelt Art Gallery at the Chatham Beverage District will host a special show during the event featuring Chatham County artists from our “Meet This Artist” series, hanging right alongside art by Chatham County Schools students.
And then there’s creativity you can taste. You’ll have no shortage of options to slake your thirst: Fair Game Beverage’s tasting room for local spirits, NC wines, and local beer; Chatham Ciderworks excellent local cider; honey wine from Starrlight Mead (2018 and 2019 Best of the Triangle Locally Made Wine, Cider or Mead Finalist in Indy Weekly). And when you’re hungry, we’ll have a food truck option, and Copeland Springs Farm & Kitchen will be offering fresh, healthy, and delicious meals straight from the farm. (Haven’t visited the Chatham Beverage District yet? It was featured on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Weekend. Watch the video HERE.)
This particular alchemy of musicians, visual artists, and culinary creators coming together in one space may never happen again. It’ll sell out, for sure. Don’t miss your chance. Buy your tickets right now!
Go See This: The Chatham Experience
Event: The Chatham Experience: Benefit Concert for Artists-in-Schools Initiative, sponsored by Opus Financial Advisors
Event Days, Dates, Times: Sunday, September 29th. Doors open at 4 p.m., concert goes 5 pm until 7:30 pm.
Event Location: Chatham Beverage District, 220 Lorax Lane, #15, Pittsboro NC
Cost of Admission: All tickets are $50 and can be purchased at this link.
For more info: www.chathamartscouncil.org/thechathamexperience-2019/
and Facebook event page
PS: Who else is supporting the arts in Chatham County? Other Chatham Arts Council sponsors include: