Habifest Is A Valentine Concert With Heart

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

This February Habitat for Humanity is taking Valentine's Day to heart. For their first annual Habifest fundraiser, set for Saturday, Feb. 11, Habitat is offering a night of musical entertainment in Farmville with 20 performances in four locations on High Street – all within walking distance. In addition to a night of splendid entertainment, the fundraiser offers a chance for the community to send a heartfelt message of support to Habitat and their mission of providing safe affordable housing for all.

“We're treating it as a Valentine weekend event,” stated Janet Green, Habitat's ReStore manager. <br />
The event will take place the Saturday before Valentine's Day from 6 to 11 p.m. with a performance every hour at four locations: Jarman Auditorium, John's Memorial Episcopal Parish Hall, John's Memorial sanctuary, and Farmville United Methodist Church.

“We've got everything from Christian rap to classics and jazz,” Green noted. “The evening will include gospel, spiritual, bluegrass, and a cappella music.”

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Green brought the idea to Farmville from Williamsburg.

“Actually, it's my brain child,” she said. “In Williamsburg they have a 'First Night' around the end of January with maybe 40 performances within a one-mile radius.”

Farmville's event is on a smaller scale and offers the convenience of walking from one location to the next.

“Everything is just across the street,” Green continued. “People can see what's playing and go wherever they want.”

The groups performing at Jarman include Wrighteous, Cross Purposes, and Witness. At John's Memorial Parish Hall there is a choice of Allen's Mill, Trey Epps, and Bob Floor Junior. Johns Memorial sanctuary will offer BASIC (Longwood gospel choir), Jennifer and Octavia, and Jessica Lyn. Farmville UMC will have Armonica Vita, Blue Grass Gospel Express, Teri and Jim Kid, and The Southside Jazz Quartet.

“There are quite a few local groups,” Green noted.

Trey Eppes performs original songs on acoustic guitar and harmonica; The Southside Jazz Quartet reflects the entire gamut of jazz from the catchy dance hits of the 1920s to recent years, and Allen's Mill, named after the gristmill that was located in Prospect, blends traditional and progressive bluegrass with original material. James and Teri Kidd will perform favorite piano duets, and the BASIC choir from Longwood will “touch the community one heart at a time, one note at a time.”

The Bluegrass Gospel Express, which has played the North Carolina-Virginia circuit for 32 years, performs every Friday night in Keysville. Jennifer and Octavia offer a variety of popular concert African-American spirituals. The musical style of Witness ranges from blues, contemporary Christian, and folk to country.

“We have one group from Williamsburg, Cross Purposes,” Green noted. “They do rock and also four-part harmony. They're exciting to hear.”

Jessica Lyn, a classically trained pianist of over 15 years, performs both instrumental and vocal selections, and Bob Floor Junior plays “funky, soul, bluesy, roots rock music.”

All of the performers, as well as the venues for the performances, have donated time and facilities.

“We'll have a food booth with chili and hot dogs outside Johns Memorial,” Green added.

Local Boy Scouts will also take part in the Habitat fundraiser. They will be stationed along the concert route with lights to guide concert-goers from one location to the next.

“The Longwood Ambassadors will also serve as volunteers at each site,” Green noted.

Parking will be available on Main Street, in the Farmville UMC parking lots, and behind Jarman.

“We'd really like for people to buy advance tickets so that we know how many to expect,” the ReStore manager said.

A wristband is the ticket to all 20 performances – a make-your-own-schedule musical evening.

All the proceeds from Habifest will, of course, go to Habitat.

“We're hoping to go from building two houses a year in Farmville to three,” the ReStore manager said.

Habitat for Humanity already understands that home is where the heart is. This Valentine's Day, everyone in the community can help Habitat build more of those homes.

Tickets can be purchased online at farmvillehabitat.org or at the ReStore, 1409 Main St., Farmville, until the day of the concert. They will also be sold the day of the event at Jarman starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 per adult; $5 children 6-12; children under five are free.