Many Greenwood area musicians who collaborated earlier this year on a music video project covering the classic Don McLean hit “American Pie” are part of an upcoming outdoor concert Oct. 15, presented by Greenwood Performing Arts.
This concert includes a number of acts who were in on the “American Pie” collaboration and many who were not.
“The idea is to do a concert by local musicians that also benefits local musicians,” explains musician Ashby Stokes, who’s consulting on the concert. “Everybody’s really excited about it. ... We’ve got this three-hour concert mapped out to the minute. It’s an unprecedented local concert in terms of size and number of musicians. ... I’m so supremely grateful to Greenwood Performing Arts for going this direction, at a time when they could have just waited, until next year.”
Stokes says be prepared for surprises at the concert’s opening and end.
“It’s also a way to entice people to come out and see more of these musicians,” Stokes said. “John McElrath of the Swingin’ Medallions always used to say you should leave audiences wanting more.”
The concert will be at the Joe Cabri Tennis Center at Lander University’s Jeff May Complex, to allow for physical distancing. Bands will be staged beneath the pavilion and the audience will be on the adjacent lawn.
Lisa Sanders, GPA executive director, said this is a much-anticipated concert.
“When I first saw the video collaboration by Greenwood musicians for Don McLean’s ‘American Pie,’ I was moved to tears,” Sanders said. “Typically, Greenwood Performing Arts brings in artists from all over the world, but we also have world-class talent right in our backyard.”
Sanders said the GPA board of directors is committed to the series having at least one performance per season that highlights local artists.
GPA is also looking to establish an endowment to support local performers, Sanders said.
“The idea is for it to help local musicians do things like hire a CPA or an attorney or helping with insurance,” Sanders said. “We’re working through logistics for how this could happen... A strong arts and music community is key to businesses thriving and it gives people positive, healthy things to do.”
Indoor performances could be tricky business during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Sanders said. So, GPA is looking to use alternative settings for events.
Saxophonist Steven Galloway is among the musicians who participated in the collaborative Don McLean “American Pie” project. He recently joined the GPA board and has recently relocated to Greenville for a job with a finance company.
“I’ve been receiving interactions from people in a number of different countries from that ‘American Pie’ video being shared, as well as my solo videos,” Galloway said. “I’m staying busy with bookings to play music here, in Columbia and even a wedding in California.”
Galloway said he’s a forever student of music. Since the time of the “American Pie” project, he’s learned more about Don McLean and his smash No. 1 hit, as well as some of McLean’s other successful songs, such as “Castles in the Air.”
“I’m looking forward to sitting in with Greenwood musicians for this concert,” Galloway said. “T.J. Edwards is one of my longtime buddies and now, Jazzy Trinity is recognized as Upstate Jazz Band of the Year.”