Keys for the Hill City is a new public art installation in Lynchburg: 5 donated pianos were decorated by local high school students and placed along Main Street for anyone to use. I have played them a few times in passing and regularly see people use them on their lunch breaks or while walking around in the evenings. We are all hoping they are treated well so they come back again next year. I followed students at Brookville for a month as they worked their piano and put it together as a slideshow after it was unveiled.
My latest project for the In Harmony series. See the whole series (thus far) online: In Harmony: Music in Central Virginia.
Working mostly out of Bedford, James Jones has spent over 30 years refining his craft: building acoustic musical instruments. “You have to put the time in. And I have put the time in.” His expertly crafted hammered dulcimers have been shipped and played around the world. Octave mandolins, harps, zithers and psalteries also take shape in his shop, which he always worked by himself. “You feel like an enabler. Because that’s really what instrument builders are,” said Jones. “The fact that you’re working with your hands and creating things out of materials has its own satisfactions but you also realize that what you ultimately produce is making music.”
The News & Advance photo department is starting a monthly series on people of Central Virginia who are connected to the music scene in some way. Called “In Harmony,” we hope to find a diverse set of individuals who are all tied together through music.
This is the first slideshow in the series.
Raymond Buckner is a recording engineer and producer at Hallow Tree Recording Studios in Lynchburg. Originally from Danville, Buckner started on his path in music in eighth grade, forming a band with friends and recording demo tracks in his bedroom. Building on his music education at Liberty University, last year he joined James Walz, the owner of the Hallow Tree, and now oversees three to four sessions a week with musicians of all genres.
In preparation for Valentine’s Day, I have been working for the last month on a story about a couple with Down syndrome. Reporter Amy Trent approached me with the idea and, after the first day of shooting, I decided it was worth pursuing as an audio slideshow.
I owe a sincere thanks to the Overstreet and Little families for allowing us in and trusting us with Nathan and Christy’s story. Please turn your audio up and click below to play. Amy’s wonderful article is here.
Glenn Trent told me that after his father retired in his 70’s, “he went on the front porch and rocked himself to death. In two years he was dead. I don’t intend to do that.” If staying active really is the secret to long life, Mr. Trent just might live forever.