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Concert to benefit arts

The McDuffie Arts Council is bringing Eleventh Hour for a summer concert in the Monroe Kimbrell Memorial Gardens at the Watson-Brown Foundation.

The concert, which is Saturday, will be the band's second appearance in Thomson. They were the last act to perform during the council's Arts in the Alley festival in May, and by then the crowd had diminished, according to Council Chairman Marion Ivey.

"We wanted to have them back for an encore performance because a lot of people were interested in seeing them," Mr. Ivey said. "Their talent was so overwhelming that we felt like we owe them a bigger audience than we gave them last time."

The band's music is "eclectic, in the independent genre," according to lead vocalist Ilhwa Gallo. The band members hail from Ohio, West Africa, South Korea and Guam, but all now live in the Augusta area and most of them play with the Augusta Symphony. With acoustic guitar, upright bass, saxophone and a Cajon (Spanish box) drum, their sound is a jazz-blues mixture.

Ms. Gallo said the group is excited about being the sole act this time because it means they will get "to tell the stories we want to tell."

"So, actually it's quite a big deal for us as a group," she said. "Our music is definitely from the heart, written from personal experiences. ... It's definitely life-experience type music for us."

The concert will serve as a fundraiser for both the band and the art council. Ms. Gallo said the band is trying to earn money to rent studio time to cut a CD.

"And, of course, being a nonprofit, we're always fundraising," Mr. Ivey said with a laugh.

The concert also will be a chance for non-artists who are interested in supporting the council to learn about becoming a supportive member.

"Which makes a big difference, especially when you put on festivals and shows," Mr. Ivey said. "The artists sometimes get so occupied with their own personal art that we just need a support staff."

Local author Lucy Adams will have a book signing at the concert with her book, If Mama Don't Laugh, it Ain't Funny.

Attendees should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic basket or refreshments, Mr. Ivey said.

"I think it's going to be very honest, definitely an openness and everyone should just come and enjoy the music and realize that everything we sing is personal. What I mean by that is none of these songs were just picked arbitrarily because they sound good. ... We're infusing our style and a piece of ourselves into it.

"So I think people can expect a really fun, honest, free-spirited time," Ms. Gallo said.

The concert is at 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the event. Admission for children 10 and younger costs $1. The Watson-Brown Foundation is located at 310 Tom Watson Way in Thomson.

Advance tickets are available at WTHO, White Columns Inn, the McDuffie Museum, Gloria Thompson's Edward D. Jones office or Culpepper Ford.

Web posted on Thursday, August 13, 2009

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