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Jazz Arts Group Inside Track series aims to “raise up” audience

 Halie Williams Jazz Arts Group Inside Track series aims to “raise up” audience
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This weekend, the Jazz Arts Group is giving music lovers a chance to be “raised and lifted up,” with their Inside Track series finale.

The Columbus Jazz Orchestra and the Harmony Project team up for this “joyous” presentation of “Raise Me Up,” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St.

The concert presents uplifting music, including patriotic songs in the first half of the show, such as the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle,” standard Jazz songs, and then the first half is closed with “Amazing Grace,” said Byron Stripling, artistic director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

The second half brings out the Harmony Project, a 200-voice choir, led by artistic director, David Brown, whose mission is to build community through the performing arts.

Stripling said that he is excited to work with David Brown and the Harmony Project because David embodies the goal of this concert.

“He has dedicated himself to putting together a choir of people that weren’t necessarily professional vocalists but people that felt that need and that fire in their belly to sing,” Stripling said. “My favorite quote in life is from William James, philosopher from Harvard who said ‘I sing not because I’m happy, but I’m happy because I sing.’ So we know that the mere act of singing brings people happiness, you don’t keep that to yourself you spread it. So that’s what David wanted to do, he wanted to spread this joy of singing.”

It is a requirement, to be in the Harmony Project, to participate in volunteer service and serve the community.

Staff members of the Jazz Arts Group and Columbus Jazz Orchestra band members partnered with the Harmony Project May 8 and May 9 on a service project, in which the built a house, at a Habitat for Humanity worksite, in conjunction with the concert.

“This is really where the rubber meets the road, where you don’t just talk about things but you actually engage in doing them,” Stripling said. “That’s what I’m so proud of them for doing last week.”

The concert was put together in order for the audience to forget any troubles they may have and feel better than when they arrived, according to Stripling.

“More than being entertained, which I always love, I like it when I feel better after leaving, even if it’s a matter of singing a tune when I leave,” he said. “Where you leave and in your hearts you feel kind of uplifted. That was the philosophy around calling the concert “Raise Me Up,” and I really want to do that for people.”

Stripling said that the show promises to me a joyous and passionate one.

“Every concert experience for me has to be magical,” he said. “That’s the atmosphere that this concert is trying to capture. Maybe people are having a hard time now, but coming into a place and realizing that music is food for the soul and provides nourishment for the whole community.”

“If they want to be raised up and they want to be lifted up and they want to experience a combination of jazz, patriotic songs, and rock and roll songs but done in only a way that the Columbus jazz orchestra can do it, then they need to come, in fact they have to come.”

Tickets cost $32 to $37.

More information can be found online at www.JazzArtsGroup.org.

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