Jam sessions a learning, performing experience

Published 7:20 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Turnage Theatre will be rocking Friday night with music from the past.

Rock the Pamlico will host a special concert on the Arts of the Pamlico’s Turnage stage in honor of the group’s one-year anniversary. For a year, musicians such as Jack Willard have met up on Tuesdays and Thursdays to celebrate a common love of, and to play, classic rock music.

“They’re from all different walks and all different stages,” Willard said. “A lot of the bulk of the guys who play are old, seasoned musicians — holdovers from Music in the Streets for years.

A lot of these guys are from other bands. It’s a pretty cohesive group, and then we encourage anybody who wants to play, to play.”

The jams are an opportunity to learn from one another and explore playing different eras of rock music, according to Willard. They’re also all-inclusive, he said.

“They’re never too young, and they’re never too old. It’s people of all ages,” Willard said. “A lot of times, we’ll match up a younger player with older players, and they feed off each other.”

AOP Executive Director Debra Torrence issued the invitation last year to use the theater’s gallery space for jam sessions. Now, the group has regulars who show up to play and, others, to listen.

“We have people coming out of the restaurants; there’s people who walk by, see us in there and they come in. It’s open to anybody. We get a lot of downtown foot traffic — people who just happen to be walking by, heard the music and came in,” Willard said.

Friday night’s concert is donation-only, and the money raised will be donated to AOP for its support of these local musicians. AOP’s continuing support of the Rock the Pamlico musicians includes plans for future Saturday afternoon jams and a series workshops on a variety of music-related subjects, from basic instruction to stage management, Willard said.

While the Tuesday and Thursday night jams have a looser format, Friday night’s benefit is more structured, with four groups performing everything from country music to classic rock. Rock the Pamlico jammer, and Old Ford Church of Christ pastor, Eddie Bowen and his group will close out the show with a set from Grand Funk Railroad, Willard said.

Rock the Pamlico’s anniversary concert starts at 7 p.m. The Turnage Theatre is located at 150 W. Main St., Washington. For more information, call AOP at 252-946-2504 or visit artsofthepamlico.org.