Rhythms of the River Brings Music, Awareness to WRJ

A series of concerts featuring area musicians and benefiting local charities continues this weekend at Lyman Point Park in White River Junction. Saturday’s show at the Hartford Band Stand features the Gully Boys, Kind Buds and the Black Moon Bear Drum Ensemble.

“Rhythms of the River” kicked of May 27th, when Wise Rockobili played. Proceeds went to the White River Partnership, a community-based environmental group. Saturday’s performance benefits Advance Transit. Admission is free, however. Money is raised primarily through donated concession stands, though several civic-minded businesses also help out.

Two more concerts are scheduled: Bow Thayer with Juke Joynt on September 2nd, and a September 29 finale, with a yet-to-be-named lineup.

The shows are the brainchild of Dave Clark, who saw an opportunity to showcase the park’s band shell and call attention to the Upper Valley music scene. The latter is an ongoing cause for Clark, a writer, publicist, and musician. He manages an email list that reaches over 1,000 live music fans. Since its launch a year ago, Clark says the “Music Lover’s List” has made a big impact on the burgeoning local scene.

“Our web traffic has doubled over the past six months,” he says. Clark’s yellowhousemedia.com site sports a performance calendar, covering dates from Burlington down to Brattleboro, and points in between. There are song samples from several performers as well, from the rootsy Bow Thayer to the Celtic-tinged Sam Moffatt. There’s also plenty of Clark’s own work from Acoustic Coalition and the Gully Boys.

“If you want to hear what’s going on locally, there’s no place to do it,” says Clark, who sees Yellow House as a “central place to sample local musicians.”
It’s a great way to get people thinking about live music, he says. “Once people know there’s a lot of good stuff out there, and it’s going on all the time, they might turn off their television sets.”

“A good musician needs an audience,” he continues. “It works for the venues too, because if they see 60 people instead of 10, then they feel a lot better about bringing music in.”

The ever-multitasking Clark also sees Rhythms of the River as a chance to call attention to more than his hometown. “The issue of our life is low carbon, how do we live in a sustainable way,” he says, and the shows will feature exhibits showing how citizens can act personally to that end.

Think of it as Live Earth at the local level.

“That’s the underpinning of my message,” he says. “It feels good to bring some awareness to the local community.”

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