Group shares its love of jazz at free Lake Anna show

Jazz, one of America’s unique contributions to music, is coming to Lake Anna, with a slate of talented artists ready to jam at Cooling Pond Brewery on Sept. 25.

A pair of lake residents recently founded Lake Anna Jazz to promote appreciation of the genre, and to provide free performances in Louisa and neighboring counties. This month’s concert is intended as a “proof of concept” to show that people want to hear this kind of music, said Robert McBride, one of the group’s founders.

“We want to expose jazz to people who have never seen it up close,” he said. 

McBride and Virginia Goldberg, Lake Anna Jazz president and vice president, are longtime members of the Washington, D.C.-based Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, which has toured internationally. 

Many of the performers they invited to play this month at Cooling Pond are also from the D.C. area. Others McBride had met at jazz shows dating back to the 1980s, when he would play in clubs in Richmond’s Shockoe Slip. One, keyboardist Tim Holmes, grew up in Louisa County and is minister of music at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Gum Spring. 

“Some of them have been very generous with their time. They were attracted to play [at the Cooling Pond show] because it’s not a high-pressure situation – it’s going to be a jam session where people can step in on the fly,” McBride said.

Some vetting of performers ahead of time is always wise, he said, which is why the group asks people interested in participating in the Sept. 25 event to sign up on their website, lakeannajazz.org.

McBride has invited people in a variety of area social networks to the show, and contacted Daniel Sanchez, Louisa County High School’s band director, to encourage his students to come out. McBride himself started out playing in the marching band at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria in the 1970s.

“We’ll use this event to connect with local schools, maybe get a performer to do a master class.” McBride remembers what a thrill it was when Doc Severinsen, who led the band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, visited his high school.

Besides enjoying the music, attendees at the Sept. 25 show can sign up to win raffle prizes, including a new Jazzmaster guitar.

The outdoor show is from 4 to 7 p.m. at Cooling Pond, located at 4411 Zachary Taylor Highway (Route 522). The family-friendly event is free, and picnickers, but not coolers, are welcome.

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