I met Skipp Pearson long ago at one of the Thursday night jam sessions at Hunter Gatherer. The energy was electric, the music was hot, and the stage, welcoming. That is the standard by which I measure a great session. The cats were trading, everyone was in good spirits, no egos on the stage; and Pops was the orchestrator of it all.
For 13 years running, my goal through Garden City Jazz has been to connect players to new audiences, to promote great performances, to develop meaningful programs. … in the Augusta area.
We’ve been doing that since 2003. Working to grow our local jazz audience/following to include people who ‘don’t like jazz.’
.. to provide all ages venues, so that kids can experience the music
… to create non-traditional events so that families, friends, and colleagues can witness the beauty of democracy on the bandstand.
These things, our team has been doing for a few years. Pops has been doing this for a lifetime.
A very important part of what we do as musicians, I feel, is CONNECTION. Not solely from a standpoint of getting musicians in front of large, diverse audiences. But, to a larger degree, allowing the audience members to discover and to connect with each other, using the music to build trust with and to motivate troubled students, building relationships between this city (JAZZTOWN USA) and the global community – and in Pops’ case, quite literally AND significantly, as a force of physical and spiritual healing.
When we embody the principles and the spirit of jazz music… when we listen to each other, share from our hearts and minds, and respect one another, then we become stronger together. And the bonds within and throughout our community are nearly impossible to break.
So… Thanks, Pops, for being a quiet force behind so many great musicians in Jazztown USA, for always remaining true to the artform and remaining steadfast, even when doing so was unpopular. You kept going, even while sick and tired.
And thanks for the connections… to other musicians (young and young at heart), for bridging the gap between here and Augusta GA, and for helping me to connect the dots of my own musical path.
“Music is the strongest form of magic.”
― Marilyn Manson
Thanks, Pops, for the magic.
Karen L Gordon
January 14, 2017