Annie Moses Band Comes to ACV
By James Sutter
Several years ago, my family and I had the opportunity to attend an Annie Moses Band concert at North Florida Community College in Madison, Florida. We had never heard of the group. We knew it was a family of musicians, and that there would be singing and people playing instruments like violins, piano and percussion. It had been a long week and the four of us talked about not going, even though we already had tickets. Ultimately, we decided to go. By the end of the first song, we were very glad we were there.
It’s hard for me to describe the Annie Moses Band without smiling. Their music is all the best things about the softer side of music performance. Their music contains the technicality and orchestration of classical, is filled with the soul of a country ballad, is as introspective as jazz, and occasionally throws in the rich twang of bluegrass for interest. Their lyrics are heartfelt poems, and through it all, you can feel they play each song as if it’s the most important they’ll ever play.
The Annie Moses Band describes themselves as a “classical crossover group.” Says one of its members, “We take classical instruments and we place them in a commercial music setting, and it combines — folk, jazz, classical — into one refreshing, new sound.”
The Annie Moses Band is comprised of Annie Moses’s great-grandchildren: Annie Wolaver Dupre (vocals and violin), Alex Wolaver (viola and vocals), Benjamin Wolaver (cello), Camille Rose Da Silva (harp, keyboards and vocals), Gretchen Wolaver (guitar, mandolin, violin and vocals), and Jeremiah Wolaver (guitar and vocals). Alex’s wife, Berklee (vocals), is also a band regular. The group’s foundation is the siblings’ parents, Robin and Bill Wolaver, famed musicians themselves who started touring with just the three older children in 2001, and have since passed on the torch.
The six Wolaver children have spent time studying at The Julliard School in New York. For those of you not familiar with Julliard, it is one of the most prestigious art schools in the world. According to Julliard’s website, in 2015, only 7.2% of those who applied were accepted. Amazingly, several of the Wolavers were accepted to study at Julliard before they had completed high school. This speaks to the technical talent of these individuals, but Annie Moses Band is so much more than technicality.
“We determined that we wanted to make music that was more personal,” says Annie Dupre of their transition from studying at Julliard to beginning the Annie Moses Band. “The emphasis of classical music is reinterpreting music of the past. We wanted to make music of our own.”
The band has released 12 albums and five live DVDs. The group’s album, This Glorious Christmas, reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart in 2008. A PBS special, “Christmas with the Annie Moses Band,” is one of the most popular telecasts in public television history. (Even if you haven’t been to an Annie Moses Band concert, if you watch much PBS, it’s likely you’ve watched one of their specials.) The band made its Carnegie Hall and Grand Ole Opry debuts in 2012. The album, Pilgrims & Prodigals, charted on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart.
The band’s most recent album, American Rhapsody, released in 2015, includes original songs and classic American folk tunes. “American Rhapsody ... that’s my favorite album that we’ve ever done,” says Annie Dupre. “American Rhapsody was our attempt to explore American folk music through the lens of an American family and our story.”
That’s what happens when you attend an Annie Moses Band concert: You’re drawn into their story. Luckily, it’s a beautiful one.
Please join us Jan. 12, 2017, to experience for yourself the Annie Moses Band. The concert will begin at 7:00 p.m. at The Village Church. Visit www.acvillage.net/artistseries or call (386) 658-5557 for more details. Tickets are $20 each and are available locally from the Village cashier and in Live Oak, Florida, at both the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce and The Music Center (students receive a discount). Season tickets for the remaining concerts at ACV, which also permit attendance to the Madison and Lake City artist series, are still available and are discounted as the season progresses. Call (386) 658-5343 for more information.
Click Here for more December Village Streams articles.