“What’s your hurry,” Dr. Harrison Everett Breen, a big-time New York City preacher, titled his sermon to a tiny Southern congregation at All Souls Church in Mayberry, North Carolina in a fourth-season episode of the iconic 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Breen’s message impressed on the congregation the value of slowing down, relaxing and enjoying life. He reminded them of long-ago summer evenings in the town square, sitting back and enjoying a community band concert.
And with that, the characters forgot the main point of the sermon as they ran about willy-nilly, trying to get everything from the bandstand to band uniforms and the band itself in shape for a relaxing evening concert.
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Carrie Kidd, executive director and one of the founding members of Harmony for Hope in Mount Hope, is the organizer of the Jubilee Band Jam. Harmony for Hope is planning a relaxing evening band concert that won’t be as harried as the one profiled in “What’s Your Hurry.”
“We were approached by the Charleston Metro Bands, asking us how they could do something in the Mount Hope community,” Kidd said in an interview Thursday.
“I told them to let me think about it, and we came up with the idea for the Jubilee Band Jam. It will be similar to the Fayette County band exhibitions that used to be held, but we’ll have it on a regional scale,” she said.
The Jubilee Band Jam will be held in concert with the annual Mount Hope Jubilee scheduled the third weekend of September. The band jam is slated for Saturday, Sept. 21 at the historic Mount Hope Municipal Stadium. Gates will open at 4 p.m. and performances will begin at 5:15 to 5:30 p.m.
Thus far, the schedule of bands performing include the Charleston Metro Band, the Oak Hill High School, Oak Hill Middle School and Independence High School marching bands, along with the Mount Hope Regional Band.
Besides an opportunity to showcase regional bands, Kidd, a self-confessed band geek, sees the event as an important fundraiser for local school bands.
“The goal of the Jubilee Band Jam is to showcase our local high school marching bands,” she said, “but this is a fundraiser, too.”
“I know how hard it is to come up with the extra money that these programs need. I can say this just from my own experience 20 years ago, a lot of the budgetary money would go into the football program, and while that is a very important program, the creative education kind of gets left out.”
Kidd said organizers still are welcoming other bands to join the program which will give them a chance to showcase their musicians as well as raise funds for their programs.
“We will charge for tickets and then turn the proceeds from those over to the bands,” she said. Admission to the band jam will be $10 for adults, $5 for those aged 6 to 18 and free for those five and under. Also, any Mount Hope resident can get a free admission ticket by stopping by Town Hall.
The mission of Harmony for Hope, founded in 2013, is “to provide music, art and technical education to children and adults through community action programs that extend to all parts of their community and overlook cultural and regional boundaries.
“We provide educational opportunities in the arts and humanities, working to help unite the Mount Hope area community, Fayette County and West Virginia. We will do so by providing art and cultural education to local area children and adults, as well as possible donors, at local public venues and community centers utilizing different types of social media channels and the corporation’s website by providing facts and other related information on local causes, as well as our current efforts to increase awareness in the community to the need of cultural and historic preservation through town revitalization and beautification projects. We provide all residents within the community of Mount Hope, the residents of Fayette County and all those of West Virginia the opportunity to receive an education in the arts and humanities.”
Supporting the arts in schools and the community is vital, Kidd said, adding anything the community as a whole can do to provide aid to creative programs is important.
“There needs to be some help from the community,” she said. “If we don’t support (the arts), that will be lost.”
Aside from stressing the need for investment in the arts and humanities, Kidd said the communities of Southern West Virginia also need to protect and promote their artistic history.
“I didn’t even realize what a big deal community bands were until I started doing some research. Mount Hope had two professional community bands at one time — one black and one white (during the days of segregation),” she said.
“Music has definitely had a long history in the small towns and we need to preserve it.”
Band directors interested in having their bands take part in the Jubilee Band Jam are urged to contact Kidd at 304-860-7843 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on Harmony For Hope, visit the group’s Facebook page @HarmonyForHope.
Email: email@example.com; follow on Twitter @Fayette_Cheryl