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The Water Calls

“This is what it means to be an artist,” Malcolm Jackson said. We’re winding up a group conversation about art, design, fashion pop-ups, American Beach and what it means to make art in Jacksonville right now—how cross-platform, neighborhood and presentation models change and evolve and how art can exist at surprising and revelatory intersections.

Dustin Harewood, Malcolm Jackson and Jordan Walter have known each other for about five or six years. They came into one another’s orbit through a shared interest in music, streetwear, fashion, sneaker culture and an elevated, elegant discourse on pop culture. For Harewood, that constellation of interests is manifested in his paintings and collages. For Jackson and Walter, it is epitomized in Bonsoir Southern Flea Market: the limited-edition clothing company that they started with Stan Wilcox. It’s worth noting that Bonsoir was conceived as more than one single thing. Like the fashion industry itself, it operates on multiple levels: design, art, art direction and editorial photography.

Now, the three artists are collaborating on a major art show. The Black Beach is, in many ways, a meditation specifically on the sad fate of American Beach in Fernandina, but in a wider frame—through Harewood’s intervention—it’s a show about encroaching capitalism and the micro and macro destruction wrought by its “growth” imperative. Capitalism being ever-ravenous, it’s always a timely subject.

The first black beach in Florida, established circa 1905, Manhattan Beach was located roughly at what today is parking lot eight at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The site is all sun-bleached sand dunes, but 100 years ago, it was the center of a small and thriving seaside community. Once that land became desirable, however, local segregationist Edward Ball (with help from politician Harcourt Bull) saw to it that a law was passed making it illegal for black people to buy or own land in Atlantic Beach.

Thus, in 1935, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the first black millionaire in Florida, founded American Beach as a place where the employees of his Afro-American Life Insurance Company could go to enjoy “recreation and relaxation without humiliation.” Almost a century later, the small community is surrounded by wealthy resorts and under pressure from developers who hope to force long-time families out. It’s not a new tale, but it is one that bears repeating, if only to force a conversation about whose stories and traditions are valued in this region. (Here’s looking at you, Confederate monuments to “history.” And you, current owners of Lewis’s historic home who just demolished it).

Jackson says when he thinks of the beach in general, he thinks of American Beach specifically. “That [place] was the beach. I didn’t go to Jacksonville Beach until I was 18.”

Walter, too, says his connection to the actual and mythical space of the beach is rooted in his relationship to the area. There’s also a little bit of nostalgia for things as divergent as church t-shirts, blogs from the aughts, and haute street culture as epitomized by the clothing brand Bathing Ape. “Here in Jacksonville, because we don’t have that ‘one’ person, or even a bunch of different sneaker boutiques, people will find their inspiration from the Internet, and you’ll get a false impression of what that [aesthetic] is,” he said.

Harewood’s connection to the Fernandina community is more tenuous: “The only other time I had heard about American Beach (and I’ve been here since 2004) was from Roosevelt Watson III. I didn’t know anything about it until Roosevelt presented his work [on it] at the library. I credit him.” But so much of Harewood’s work is centered on his life on Barbados and his frequent trips to Japan that the ocean often takes center stage. Though his most recent show (Warm Rain and Electricity) in December focused on large-scale abstracts, his ongoing body of work, 36 Views of a Dying Reef, explores the destruction and rebuilding of giant ocean reefs. Some these will be on display alongside The Black Beach. For Harewood, representing reefs is meaningful because they are an important part of the planetary ecosystem. When they die, humanity dies.

Initially, the exhibition grew out of a recent series of editorial photographs Jackson snapped during the course of Memorial Day weekend in 2019. He’d returned to the beach because “the water calls to me.”

While there, he started to think about all the singular stories that took place there—from James Brown being “uninvited” to play at the nightclub Evan’s Rendezvous (he was too turnt) to ships full of kidnapped Africans sinking off of the coast. He decided he wanted to do something to draw attention to the place, while also blurring the lines between past and present. Jackson conceptualized an editorial photo shoot wherein his models would be wearing clothing styled to evoke the heyday of the beach. “I wanted to bring awareness to the area as a whole … I wanted to do something to try to save it.” The resulting work is a series he calls “Ghosts of NaNa.” NaNa is the great sand dune that sits at the heart of the community. Purchased by the National Parks Service in 2005, it is now a protected part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

Talking about his approach, Walter explained, “I did end up doing some t-shirts, but they’re—they’re kind of hard to explain … in all the work I did for the show, I wanted to show my depth as an artist. The pieces are layers upon layers upon layers: the kind of things you have to look at for a while to understand them. I think maybe that’s what I appreciate about design, and more specifically t-shirt design, because [the t-shirt] celebrates life, death, protest—it’s greater than what you see, more powerful than a picket sign, and is accessible.”

In making his pieces, Jordan “sampled” Jackson’s photos in a manner that recalls Harewood’s own sampling of cultures and experiences—from Brooklyn to Barbados, Japan to Disneyland. The method is an outgrowth of postmodern theory and hip hop practice, moving across media, reflecting different materials, and multiplying the points of access to art, fashion and design.

Showing together seemed like a natural fit for the three artists. With elements of pop and fine art wed to the unexpected and deliberate, The Black Beach promises to deliver a meaningful rumination on place, loss and blackness.

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The Future Sounds Good

Our youth are the future. In an increasingly complex world, it is more important than ever that we arm children and adolescents with the tools they need to succeed through a well-rounded education—one that includes arts education. Throughout the last several decades, fewer and fewer students have received substantial education in the arts. However, studies show that arts education and artistic expression can have an incredible impact on a child’s academic, social and emotional development. Jacksonville Arts & Music School (JAMS) was created to fill this gap right here in Jacksonville.

Within the classroom, students who regularly engage in arts activities in the span of a year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than students who do not, according to a report by Americans for the Arts. Another study, conducted by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, shows that arts education positively and significantly impacts elementary school students’ school engagement and college aspirations.

The skills developed through artistic expression extend far beyond the four walls of an elementary or high school. Arts education by nature encourages children to approach a situation from several points of view, leading students to increased levels of empathy and social tolerance. It also strengthens their sense of ownership, sense of purpose and problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, according to Americans for the Arts. These qualities are pivotal to promoting success throughout a child’s life. These skills, coupled with the social-emotional benefits of arts education, empower the leaders of tomorrow.

And that is exactly what we are aiming to do at JAMS. We are a creative youth development organization that provides arts education and leadership development to children in Jacksonville’s underserved communities. JAMS is a safe haven for creativity, a place where students in grades three through 10 can come after school to study, create and develop positive social relationships. We work to establish trust, cultivate creativity and develop leaders through our four JAMS focus areas: music, dance, visual arts and film. We also expose students to taekwondo and robotics through our clubs.

With more than 4,270 hours spent on arts education and leadership development per year, we encourage our students to embrace creativity as a way of life. Our instructors set high expectations for growth and learning, encouraging students to tackle every class, lesson and assignment with passion. We are amazed daily by our students, their creations and their achievements.

Since we opened our doors in 2015, we’ve developed roots in the Jacksonville community and partnerships that have helped us continue to grow each year. One of our newest partners is the Cowford Chophouse. At the end of last year, Cowford announced JAMS as the beneficiary of its fourth annual MOO-VE IT 5K, which takes place Saturday, Feb. 22. The 5K and one-mile fun run is held in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, starting and ending in front of the Cowford Chophouse and taking runners along the Northbank Riverwalk. All proceeds from the race will be used to expand our arts education programming.

Promoting arts education and leadership development is critical to providing our children with an accessible path to success, and getting involved with JAMS through MOO-VE IT is a fun and family-friendly way to help. Runners can register online at CowfordChophouse.com/MOO-VE-IT-5K. The cost of your ticket directly supports the arts education available on our campus.

Embracing creativity and arts education today gives children the skills they will need tomorrow. At JAMS, we are committed to inspiring and empowering Jacksonville’s youth to explore the world of creative thinking—not just for their future, but everyone’s.

__________________________________

Peoples is executive director of Jacksonville Arts & Music School (JAMS).

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A Fetching Smile

There are few things that make me happier than sticking my snout in a big bowl of kibble and gobbling down every last crumb. The problem? Bad breath. All that crunching without proper dental care can create a mouthful of problems. And let’s face it: nothing ruins a cuddle with your canine like a blast of bad breath.

Doggie halitosis is one of the worst things a dog can have, and it is often a telltale sign of gum disease. That stench coming from your dog’s mouth means there’s a colony of disease-causing bacteria living and thriving inside its muzzle. Not only does it lead to dental pain and tooth decay, but it can also spread to other parts of the body, causing inflammation, sickness and even death.

Diet can also cause that stinky smell, especially if your dog feasts on trash, table scraps and animal feces. While bad breath can indicate a more serious illness, the main culprit is usually poor dental hygiene.

Daily brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your dog’s dental health. It’s true: few dogs will step up to the sink for a good tooth scrubbing, but the few seconds a day it takes to whisk a brush across its pearly whites will pay off in better health—and sweeter kisses.

One of the leading benefits of brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is that you can catch dental problems early. Most dogs are good at hiding pain, which includes any discomfort they may be having in their mouth. By brushing your dog’s teeth every day, you’re preventing harmful buildup from developing and giving yourself an opportunity to spot any changes early on.

An important truth to note is that smaller dogs and pups with flat or short broad snouts often require more frequent brushings. Because their mouths are smaller, these dogs’ teeth are more crowded. They are more prone to plaque buildup and thus more likely to develop periodontal disease.

Toothbrush-wise, a good rule of thumb is that gentler is better. Find a brush that fits comfortably in your dog’s mouth and is soft enough not to irritate its gums. You’ll also need specialized toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt, as it could be harmful if your dog swallows it. Doggy toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, from vanilla mint to peanut butter and even liver. Go with what you imagine your dog will like.

While regular brushing is your first line of defense against bad breath and gum disease, there are other ways to help clean your canine’s choppers:

 

Chew toys

Gnawing on chew toys can rasp away tarter while massaging dogs’ gums and keeping their teeth strong.

 

Dental chews

These treats help clean teeth, remove debris and freshen breath. Products with the VOHC-approved stamp are recommended.

 

Water additives

This oral care solution helps tackle bacteria, reduce plaque and freshen breath.

 

Dental hygiene is just as important to your dog’s overall health as nutrition, exercise and grooming. Following a dental care routine not only helps produce a winning smile, fresh breath and happy gums, but it also contributes to a longer, healthier life.

A+E
Live + Local Music

Live Music Venues

AMELIA ISLAND, FERNANDINA

SALTY PELICAN, 12 N. Front St. Davis Turner Feb. 19. Sweet Sweet Feb. 21. Jimmy Beats, Billy King Feb. 22. Eric Alabiso Feb. 23. Joe King Feb. 25

SJ BREWING, 463646 S.R. 200, Yulee Michelle Anders Feb. 22

The SURF, 3199 S. Fletcher Ave. The Macy’s Feb. 19. Joe King Feb. 21. Davis Turner Feb. 22

 

THE BEACHES

(All venues in Jax Beach unless otherwise noted)

BLUE JAY LISTENING ROOM, 2457B S. Third St. Moors & McCumber Feb. 20 & 21. Noah Gundersen Feb. 22. Nikki Hill Feb. 23

GUSTO, 1266 Beach Blvd. New Groove Feb. 19. Matt Hall Feb. 20. Ventura Fusion Latin Band Feb. 22

LYNCH’S IRISH PUB, 514 N. First St. Brendan Doherty, The Party Cartel Feb. 21. Adam Latiff, 5 O’Clock Shadow Feb. 22. Chillula every Wed. Split Tones every Thur. Dirty Pete every Sun. Julia Gulia every Mon. South City Live every Tue.

MEZZA LUNA, 110 First St., Neptune Beach Gypsies Ginger every Wed. Mike Shackelford every Thur. Mezza Shuffle Boxband every Mon. Trevor Tanner every Tue.

MAVI BAR & GRILL, 2309 Beach Blvd. Michael Ward & Cool Breeze Feb. 20. Fat Cactus Feb. 21. Patrick Rose, Spanky the Band Feb. 22. Jimmy Parrish & the Waves Feb. 23

 

DOWNTOWN

1904 MUSIC HALL, 19 Ocean St. Chuck Magid, Side Hustle, Ivan Pulley Band Feb. 20. Shaun Martin, Three-O, Electric Kif Feb. 21. Flipturn, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, Miles From London Feb. 22. Godder Than a Muthafucka, Ebony Payne-English, Moses West, DJ Mas Appeal Feb. 23

HEMMING PARK, 135 W. Monroe St. Joe Watts Feb. 19. The 77ds Feb. 21. Paul Ivey Feb. 24

The JUSTICE PUB, 315 E. Bay St., Ste. 101 Lord Byron Feb. 22

MYTH NIGHTCLUB, 333 E. Bay St. DJ Lil Yankee, Killoala, Boogie Mane, Inner-G, Tunnel Vision Feb. 19. DJs Q45, Los, Sub-Lo, DJND, Chris24 Feb. 21. Jstahr, Kevin Velarde, Xander, Gaspo Feb. 22. Stupid Thick, Drewlface, Lizuh, Viral Feb. 23.

VOLSTEAD, 115 W. Adams St. Raisin Cake Orchestra Feb. 25

VYSTAR VETERANS ARENA, 300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. Lauren Daigle, Johnnyswim Feb. 21

 

FLEMING ISLAND, GREEN COVE

BOONDOCKS, 2808 Henley Rd. Alan Dalton & Terry Campbell Feb. 21. Michael Chancellor Feb. 22

SOUTHERN SOCIAL, 2223 C.R. 200, Middleburg Stephen Quinn & Gabe Bullard Feb. 20. 8 Second Ride Feb. 21. Justin Spivey Feb. 22

WHITEY’S FISH CAMP, 2032 C.R. 220 Julia Gulia Feb. 21. Monkey Wrench Feb. 22

 

INTRACOASTAL, ARLINGTON

CLIFF’S, 3033 Monument Rd., Ste. 2 The Push Feb. 21

JERRY’S SPORTS GRILLE, 13170-22 Atlantic Blvd. Boogie Freaks Feb. 21. Sidewalk 65 Feb. 22

 

MANDARIN

BRICKSTONE, 445 S.R. 13 Sidewalk 65 Feb. 21

ENZA’S, 10601 San Jose Blvd., Ste. 109 Brian Iannucci every Wed., Sun. & Tue. Carl Grant every Thur., Fri. & Sat.

IGGY’S, 104 Bartram Oaks Walk, Ste. 101 Tad Jennings Feb. 20. 7 Street Feb. 21. Lyft Feb. 22. The Corbitt-Clampitt Experience Feb. 23

 

ORANGE PARK

CHEERS, 1138 Park Ave. Julia Gulia Feb. 12. Ginger Beard Man Feb. 14. Lifeline Feb. 15

THRASHER-HORNE CENTER, 283 College Dr. Three Dog Night Feb. 13

 

PONTE VEDRA

FIONN MACCOOL’S, 145 Hilden Rd. DiCarlo Thompson Feb. 21. Andy Jacobs Feb. 22

PONTE VEDRA CONCERT HALL, 1050 A1A N. Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years Feb. 21. UFO Feb. 25

TAPS, 2220 C.R. 210 W., Ste. 314 Dennis Miller Feb. 19. Don’t Call Me Shirley Feb. 21. Redfish Rich Duo Feb. 22

 

RIVERSIDE, WESTSIDE

ARCHETYPE, 2952 Roosevelt Blvd. Tony MacAlpine, Chris Schiermann, Tony Smotherman Project Feb. 19. Sanction, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Vamachara, Typecaste, Adrenaline, Mindfield Feb. 20. Swordz, SKVD Rock, Beazie, Swamp, Hellboy, Hiroschema, Dead Or In Jail, Oppressive Nature Feb. 21. Brother Hawk, Cowford Town Band, Luna Cruise, Scotty Bayer Feb. 22. The Firewater Tent Revival, Bonnie Blue Feb. 23

JAZZY’S, 901 King St. Str8up Feb. 21. Monique Denise Band Feb. 22

RAIN DOGS, 1045 Park St. The Blind Spots, Jean Street Sound, The Portrait Feb. 19. Gentlemen’s Crow Feb. 21. Down Under, Holding Cell Grieving Room Feb. 23

RIVERSIDE ARTS MARKET, 715 Riverside Ave. Firewater Tent Revival Feb. 22

RIVER & POST, 1000 Riverside Ave., Ste. 100 Barrett Thomas Feb. 21

 

ST. AUGUSTINE

The AMP, 1340C A1A S. John Fogerty Feb. 23

ARNOLD’S LOUNGE, 3912 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd. Ruckus Feb. 22. Blistur Feb. 23

The CELLAR UPSTAIRS, 157 King St. Vinny Jacobs Feb. 20 & 23. Gary Douglas Campbell, Hit Parade Band Feb. 21. Rob Peck, Ain’t Too Proud 2 Beg Feb. 22

COLONIAL OAK MUSIC PARK, 33 St. George St. Cat McWilliams Band Feb. 21. JW Gilmore & the Blues Authority Feb. 22

PROHIBITION KITCHEN, 119 St. George St. Leelynn Osborn Trio Feb. 19. Cover Boy, Nicholas Williams Feb. 20. Ramona, Esh x Schief Feb. 21. Briteside, Salt & Pine Feb. 22. Lu Rubino, Cat 5 Band Feb. 23. Sam Pacetti Feb. 24. Soulo Lyon Feb. 25

SARBEZ!, 115 Anastasia Blvd. Torche, Sleep Culture, Dredger Feb. 21. Fux Feb. 23

TRADEWINDS, 124 Charlotte St. Vegas Gray Feb. 21. City of Bridges Feb. 22. Jim Carrick every Wed. Mark Hart every Wed., Fri., Sat., Mon., Tue. Down Low every Wed & Thur. Heather Craig every Thur. & Fri. Elizabeth Roth every Sat. Keith Godwin & the Rio Grande Band, Smokin’ Joe Schauer, Salty Dawg every Sun. Mike Johnson & the Little Big Band every Mon. & Tue.

 

ST. MARY’S

J’S TAVERN, 711 Osborne St. Mojo Roux Feb. 21

HOWARD GILMAN WATERFRONT PARK, 100 W. St. Marys St. Jenna Paulette, Josh Lambo Band, Pam Tillis, Waterloo Revival Feb. 22

 

SAN MARCO, SOUTHBANK

GRAPE & GRAIN EXCHANGE, 2000 San Marco Blvd. Big Papa Fish Feb. 20

JACK RABBITS, 1528 Hendricks Ave. Michigan Rattlers, Brent Cowles, The Secateurs Feb. 21. Carmen Feb. 22. Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, The Fallen Sons, Sanctum Feb. 23. Good Morning Bedlam Feb. 25

RIVER CITY BREWING COMPANY, 835 Museum Cir. John Kaminski Feb. 22

 

SOUTHSIDE, BAYMEADOWS

ALHAMBRA THEATRE, 12000 Beach Blvd. Neil Diamond Tribute: Jay White Feb. 24 & 25

VETERANS UNITED CRAFT BREWERY, 8999 Western Way, Ste. 104 The Bald Eagles Feb. 21

 

SPRINGFIELD, NORTHSIDE

COPPERTOP BAR & RESTAURANT, 12405-7 N. Main St. The Party Cartel Feb. 21

PALMS FISH CAMP, 6359 Heckscher Dr. Michael Ward Feb. 19 & 22. Taylor Shami Feb. 20. Billy Bowers Feb. 21. Mr. Bill Show Feb. 22. Ciaran Songtag, Ryan Campbell Feb. 23

 

Upcoming Concerts

LUCERO, JADE JACKSON Feb. 26, The Amp Backyard Stage

TOMMY EMMANUEL, IDA MAE Feb. 27, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

NEARLY NICKS Feb. 27, Thrasher-Horne Center

GLASS HOUSE POINT, BLÜM, The FORUM, QUARTER ROY Feb. 28, Sarbez!

FLORIDA TROUBADOURS Feb. 29, Mudville Music Room

RIDERS in the SKY Mar. 1, Thrasher-Horne Center

REO SPEEDWAGON Mar. 3, Florida Theatre

DIANA ROSS Mar. 4, Times-Union Center

ARCADIA GREY, FIRST CASE SCENARIO, LIPZCUM Mar. 5, Kona Skatepark

RICHARD SMITH Mar. 5, Mudville Music Room

WALKABOUT MUSIC FEST: JOSH MCGOWAN & SAM MCDONALD, BLACK SHEEP BLUES BAND, DRURY BROTHERS BAND, CAT MCWILLIAMS BAND, SIDE SHOW, JAYBONE, JOE KING & ZACH MOTES Mar. 7, Walkabout Camp & RV Park

The OUTLAWS Mar. 8, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

The McCARTNEY YEARS Mar. 9, Alhambra Theatre

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY, The ASBURY JUKES Mar. 10, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

FRED EAGLESMITH, TIF GINN Mar. 12, Mudville Music Room

JOSH GROBAN Mar. 13, Times-Union Center

CASTING CROWS, MATTHEW WEST Mar. 19, The Amp

STEVE HACKETT Mar. 20, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

The SOPHOMORE ATTEMPT, MODERN VIOLENCE, RUNNER’S HIGH Mar. 20, 1904 Music Hall

FIRESIDE COLLECTIVE, GREENSKY BLUEGRASS, BÉLA FLECK & the FLECKTONES, PETER ROWAN, FREE MEXICAN AIRFORCE, LOS TEXMANIACS, DONNA the BUFFALO, SIERRA HULL, GHOST LIGHT, DARRELL SCOTT, JIM LAUDERDALE, VERLON THOMPSON Mar. 21 & 22, Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park

The MUSIC of CREAM Mar. 24, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

AGAINST ME! Mar. 25, The Amp Backyard Stage

JASON ISBELL, The 400 UNIT, OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW Mar. 27, The Amp

PABLO CRUISE Mar. 28, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

KANE BROWN, RUSSELL DICKERSON, CHRIS LANE Mar. 28 & May 16, Daily’s Place

The EVERLY BROTHERS TRIBUTE Mar. 30 & 31, Alhambra Theatre

HAYES CARLL Apr. 2, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

GRATEFUL DEAD TRIBUTE: DARK STAR ORCHESTRA Apr. 3, The Amp

RICKY SKAGGS, KENTUCKY THUNDER Apr. 3, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

VANILLA ICE & SIR MIX-A-LOT Apr. 7, Clay County Fair

MANDY MOORE Apr. 7, Florida Theatre

EILEN JEWELL BAND Apr. 10, Mudville Music Room

LEO KOTTKE Apr. 10, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

MAZE & FRANKIE BEVERLY Apr. 11, Times-Union Center

SLAID CLEAVES Apr. 16, Mudville Music Room

COLE SWINDELL, HARDY, TREA LANDON Apr. 17, Daily’s Place

The PSYCHEDELIC FURS, ELETTRO DOMESTICO Apr. 19, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

The FLOOZIES, SUNSQUABI + NOBIDE Apr. 22, The Amp Backyard Stage

BRITTANY HOWARD, NÜ MANGOS Apr. 23, Florida Theatre

SHAWN COLVIN, DAPHNE WILLIS Apr. 24, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

COLLIE BUDDZ Apr. 25, Surfer the Bar

TOWER of POWER Apr. 28, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

MELISSA ETHERIDGE Apr. 30, Thrasher-Horne Center

LED ZEPPELIN TRIBUTE: ZOSO Apr. 30, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

NF May 2, Daily’s Place

JOURNEY TRIBUTE: RESURRECTION May 4, Alhambra Theatre

AJR May 6, Daily’s Place

MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD, BOMBARGO May 8, The Amp

MICHAEL BUBLE Mar. 17, VyStar Veterans Arena

The LUMINEERS, SHAKEY GRAVES, JADE BIRD May 19 & 20, Daily’s Place

BRUCE COCKBURN May 20, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

OF MONSTERS & MEN, GORDI May 29, The Amp

Editorial
The Power of Song

There are some who say the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” But what if sadness is the thing you need to be cured from? Tears are certainly a wonderful expression of sadness, but they do little to heal it at the source.

Then there are those who say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” In my experience, laughter can often do a tremendous job of masking sadness without actually healing it at the root. This is not to say that laughter is not important. It can be a wonderful coping mechanism. But I don’t believe it is capable of truly healing our pain at its core.

Allow me to suggest another healing method: music. When my daughter and I first moved to Jacksonville in the fall of 2017, it was the most recent of four major moves since she started pre-K in Georgia. That means by fifth grade, she had attended five different elementary schools. As a single mother, I knew that I needed to follow my career trajectory and do what was best for us financially, but I also knew that I owed her some semblance of stability. So I promised that moving to Jacksonville would be it—at least until she finished middle school.

And yet, I knew she was unhappy. She attended one of Duval County’s best public elementary schools for gifted students and had no trouble forging friendships. Still, my girl was suffering from depression, and she needed something to pull her from the doldrums of her lifestyle and reignite the spark of creativity and joy that she was capable of experiencing. Yes, I booked her an appointment with a therapist, butI also registered her to audition for the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus.

I firmly believe that participating in an artistic organization like the JCC offers invaluable therapeutic benefits for children who may be emotionally drifting without another creative outlet. As I mentioned, my daughter started seeing a therapist and rebounded quickly from her depressive symptoms, but it happened concurrently with her enrollment and participation in a choir that teaches children self-discipline, teamwork, artistic expression and good citizenship.

The chorus, founded in 1995, is Jacksonville’s largest provider of music education, enriching the lives of singers and audiences across the region. The nonprofit organization offers scholarships to any child who wishes to sing, through the generous support of sponsors and donors.

My child is a scholarship recipient, and our family could not be more grateful to all the donors who give in order that she may be able to take part in this wonderful group whose music lifts my spirits every time I attend a performance. I can only imagine how it works to lift the spirits of the children who perform and rehearse every single week, all for the love of music and the arts in Jacksonville and beyond.

The chorus hosts its annual Mardi Gras fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. There will be jazz musicians as well as performances by the JCC Touring Choir and adult ensemble Voices of Jacksonville along with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and dancing, aerialists, a tarot card reader and live and silent auctions. Come take part in the celebration of music, of our talented children, and of the power that music has to evoke all levels of emotion.

__________________________________

Wadley is the parent of a JCC performer.

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