Conscious party: EMBE plays a farewell show for its founder Sue Ford

THE LAST BEAT: After 14 years of practicing, performing and recording, EMBE will play its final show. Band director Sue Ford says she's felt like a collaborator (rather than a teacher) with top players, and she's also enjoyed facilitating positive momentum for students who struggle with academia. Photo courtesy Evergreen Community Charter School

WHAT: Evergreen Multicultural Beat Ensemble’s CD release show and farewell concert for founding band director Sue Ford

WHERE: Evergreen Community Charter School

WHEN: Saturday, June 4, at 6 p.m.

WHY: Music teacher Sue Ford originally conceived of Evergreen’s marimba band as a way for students “to work off some energy” while learning a new art form. And though the seventh- and eighth-graders still run around between singing, dancing and performing on their fleet of Zimbabwean instruments, they’ve reached much greater milestones during the after-school program’s 14-year climb.

In addition to playing festivals and venues like LEAF, LAAFF, the French Broad River Festival, Diana Wortham Theatre and more beyond Western North Carolina, the students have studied under multiple professional artists in residency. The youth band is also releasing its fifth recording project, Stampede, which was captured by Sound Lab Studios’ Adam Johnson on campus.

The CD includes traditional African songs alongside original compositions by the students — plus fun covers like “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid — and will be played in full at the upcoming release show. That event will double as a send-off for Ford, who is transitioning to a part-time schedule at Rainbow Community School. In her absence, EMBE is drawing to a close, so proceeds will be funneled toward Evergreen’s expanding concert band program

“It’s going to be very sentimental — nostalgic for me anyway,” she says of this last major performance, but the evening will also be celebratory with a slide-show and alumni joining in for part of the show.

Admission is $5 per person, $10 per family or free with the purchase of EMBE’s CD ($15). Visit for more information.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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