Conscious party: WNC Solidarity Concert Series

POSITIVE VIBES: Jason DeCristofaro, pictured, will perform on the vibraphone at the next iteration of his benefit concert series, which also features pianist Richard Shulman, guitarist Dan Keller, bassist Cameron Austin and drummer Rick Dilling. Photo by Frank Zipperer

WHAT: A concert series benefitting multiple nonprofits, including the Center for Honeybee Research

WHERE: The BLOCK Off Biltmore

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 26, from 3-5 p.m. (additional dates through December)

WHY: Individuals of varying professional backgrounds have stepped up to organize one-off community events that address the White House’s shifting priorities under President Donald Trump. But musician and educator Jason DeCristofaro has planned 12 fundraisers for 2017.

“By doing something once a month, it becomes a tradition where people come together for a specific cause,” he reasons. “Part of [the goal] is to maintain a mission of solidarity throughout the year.”

An educator at both Warren Wilson College and A-B Tech, DeCristofaro called upon his network of professional musicians, booking two acts per night for a dozen shows — each of which falls on the last Sunday of the month and utilizes donated space at The BLOCK Off Biltmore.

“I presented the 12 nonprofits that were selected to receive support, and I asked the musicians: Which cause speaks the most to you?” he says, noting his focus on organizations concerned with the environment and marginalized groups. Acts like Rhoda Weaver Band, Chuck Lichtenberger Quartet, Drayton Aldridge and Jonathan Pearlman Quartet joined the cause and were assigned to beneficiaries, including the NAACP, Our VOICE, Dogwood Alliance, WNC Green Building Council, Planned Parenthood, Helpmate and HomewardBound. Representatives from the nonprofits will have a chance to speak about their mission, community initiatives and supporter involvement between sets.

At the series’ forthcoming second iteration, opener Richard Shulman Quartet and headliner Dan Keller Quartet will perform in support of the Center for Honeybee Research, which has a four-part mission: increasing education on the importance of bees; researching honeybees and the challenges to their existence; serving as an information and communications hub; and establishing a laboratory to analyze bee health and environments.

Each WNC Solidarity Concert Series event has a minimum $10 donation at the door, all of which goes to the night’s beneficiary. 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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