Mary Munford makes donation to JAMinc in honor of principal

JAMinc is beyond excited to accept a very generous check from Mary Munford Elementary’s PTA, representing proceeds from a very successful coffee sale.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday, they sold more than 170 bags of “Greg Muzik’s Bluegrass Blend” from Lamplighter Coffee, in honor of their beloved principal and music lover.

JAMinc has partnered with Mary Munford for at least 60 artist appearances in their auditorium over the years, by far our most popular outreach venue. Greg’s willingness to always give our touring musicians a place to play is key to our mission. Thanks to “Dr. Muzik” and to all at MM for your continued focus on what music can mean to a young mind.

Nellie McKay and pup Bessie delight Mary Munford students

Nellie McKay and her pup Bessie

Nellie McKay, accompanied by her companion dog Bessie, performed at Mary Munford Elementary School Thursday afternoon before heading to the In Your Ear studios. The nearly full auditorium of students was delighted to see Bessie on stage.

Nellie began her 30-minute set singing “If I Fell” by Lennon and McCartney while playing ukulele. After the song she asked the kids if any of them knew who the Beatles were. To her surprise, nearly all raised their hands.

A few songs later, when Nellie added harmonica, the students laughed as Bessie began to accompany her – standing and howling along with the song. Towards the end of her performance Nellie moved to the school’s piano and was joined on a few songs by JAMinc board member Samson Trinh playing saxophone. Nellie also passed one of her ukuleles and a harmonica to the students so they could examine the instruments.

Remarking on how engaged and well behave the students were, she told them they were one of her best audiences ever and thanked them for coming to see her.



Scott Street five string winner G Rockwell awarded scholarship

G Rockwell

The bluegrass division winner of our 2017 Scott Street Five String Finals scores a big one. The International Bluegrass Music Association has awarded a scholarship to G Rockwell to attend the Blue Ridge Banjo Camp, hosted by Béla Fleck.

G Rockwell, a 16 year old from Bridgeport, CT, has been playing for 8 years. He is a banjo picker and guitarist, occasional mandolin player, with a style fusing bluegrass, jazz and classic rock.

Rockwell competed live on the CarMax Family Stage at the Richmond Folk Festival on October 14, 2017. Each year the Scott Street Five String Finals, a banjo competition for young players 18 and under, honors the memory of beloved JAMinc board member, distinguished attorney and dedicated banjo player Scott Street. The competition is open for entries for the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival. Check it out.

Read more about the scholarship »


Eric Stanley’s stay inspired message connects with students

Eric Stanley started his Thursday afternoon school visit to Mary Munford Elementary high-fiving seated students while the remaining students entered the auditorium. From the first notes he played on his violin the 400 or so students were captivated. Using recorded loops, Eric connected with the students by incorporating several nursery rhymes into his performance.

At one point Eric asked if there were any dancers in the audience. Of the 30 raised hands he selected a young boy to come up on stage and show off his moves. You could tell it was a moment the youngster had been waiting for as he busted some impressive moves while Eric played. Once done Eric congratulated the student on having a big heart and the courage to get up and be himself in front of his fellow students.

Friday morning Eric visited with about 300 students at Chimborazo Elementary in Church Hill. Once again he connected immediately with the students and this time invited two to perform with him – one singing and the other dancing while Eric played. The collected students gave all an enthusiastic round of applause.

As he does at every school he plays, Eric encouraged the students to always be who they are and to stay inspired. The kids were off to a good start after seeing Eric’s performances.

Nellie McKay captivates audience at In Your Ear Studios on May 23, 2019

After board member and long-time friend Samson Trinh’s introduction of Nellie McKay to the nearly full house in Studio A, she stepped to the microphone, ukulele in hand, and began to sing without saying a word.

She immediately captivated the audience with her sweet and wide vocal range. During the rest of the evening she proved that great things really can come in small packages. Besides singing and playing both ukulele and piano, she did several funny yet poignant “conversations” with herself as subtle commentary on today’s political landscape. In a word, Nellie was entertaining.

Towards the end of the all-too-short evening, which kicked off with yet another spectacular potluck buffet, Samson joined Nellie, now on the studio’s grand piano, for a couple of songs playing saxophone. The evening was capped off when local jazz vocalist and musician John Winn (who happened to be in attendance) joined the two (at Samson’s urging) for an improvised jazz vocalization number known as “scat” singing. The audience signaled their approval of the performance, and the evening in general, with a standing ovation.

Nellie McKay is hard to categorize. She’s done Brecht on Broadway, opened for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall, sung Woody Allen movie songs at the Hollywood Bowl, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, duetted with Eartha Kitt and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, played Hilary Swank’s sister on the big screen, paid tribute to Doris Day, and released three wildly acclaimed albums of original music.

Nellie McKayHer music is as tuneful and clever as the best of the Great American Songbook  – part cabaret, part sparkly pop. But beneath the charming melodic surface is a wit that cuts, and a sharply tuned social conscience.

Sister Orchid marks Nellie McKay‘s seventh label release. Previous albums include, Pretty Little Head Obligatory Villagers, Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day, Sweet Mobile Home, Get Away From Me and My Weekly Reader (both co-produced by Beatles engineer, Geoff Emerick.

She won a Theatre World Award for her Broadway portrayal of Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera. As a motion picture actress, Nellie has been in “P.S. I Love You” and “Downtown Express.” Film soundtracks include “Rumor Has It”, “Monster-in-Law” and her music has been heard on television’s “Mad Men”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Weeds”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “NCIS” and “Nurse Jackie”. Nellie has performed on TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Ferguson, and The View.

Nellie has made numerous radio appearances on NPR’s Mountain Stage, A Prairie Home Companion, and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. The Chase Brock Experience produced a ballet of her album, Obligatory Villagers, and her writing has appeared in The Onion, Interview, and The New York Times Book Review.

Nellie is a recipient of PETA’s Humanitarian Award and The Humane Society’s Doris Day Music Award in recognition of her dedication to animal rights.

JAMinc receives donation on behalf of Lucy Dacus

The Newport Folk Festival Foundation has made a donation on behalf of Lucy Dacus to support JAMinc’s school outreach efforts.

“JAMinc is beyond grateful to Richmond’s own Lucy Dacus for tapping us as her musical non profit-of-choice,” said JAMinc’s President, Tim Timberlake.

“It’s so important for us to provide opportunities for young people to hear music performed live, never knowing how one single moment might trigger the lifetime joy that only music can provide.”

Since 2004 JAMinc has taken studio concert artists to public schools with more than 90,000 students served so far. This donation will be used to underwrite the instructor fees JAMinc provides each artist.

Lucy Dacus, one of Richmond’s best known singer/songwriters of late, will be performing at the Newport Folk Festival on July 27, 2019.

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes at RIFF on April 28, 2019

JAMinc is pleased to be partnering with the Richmond International Film Festival
to present the screening of BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES, a documentary
exploring the unique vision behind the iconic jazz record label.

Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with Blue Note artists, the film reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop, with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Norah Jones, Don Was and many more.

BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES will be screening at the Richmond International Film Festival at the Byrd Theatre: 2908 W. Cary St. Richmond, VA 23221 on Sunday, the 28 at 1:30 pm.

Buy your tickets at

Watch the trailer

Chesapeake native Eric Stanley and friends bring electric energy to JAMinc

Eric Stanley

Read about Eric’s two school visits as part of his IYE experience. »

Listen to Eric Stanley and friends performance on the VPM In Your Ear Radio Show »

Eric Stanley performed on April 18, 2019 at the In Your Ear Recording Studio. The sold out crowd was excited since Eric Stanley’s performance with fellow violinist Daniel D, DJ Calculation Of, keyboardist Brett McKinley Cypress and bass player Anthony Cavanaugh would truly be an out-of-the-box experience from the typical JAMinc show. No other band had ever included a DJ – a historic moment.

An interesting aspect of the band that night was that the quintet had only been playing together for several hours – put together by Eric and Daniel specifically for this performance. It’s a mark of their combined level of musicianship that nobody would have known had Eric not mentioned it during their performance.

The crowd’s anticipation was richly rewarded. Every song was punctuated by applause and whoops of approval. Comments from the audience ranged from “That was totally different” to “I’ve never heard violins played like that…I was amazed at what they did.”

Eric Stanley & DanielD_JAMinc-IYE-7743Eric and the band combined classical lines with hip-hop beats and even the random nursery rhyme hook thrown in keeping it unique and fresh. Several times Eric encouraged the audience to “Stay inspired” which, without a doubt, all truly were.

The evening began as every JAMinc show does with an array of interesting food brought in for the potluck buffet. There was even an unofficial “meatball challenge” that ended up a draw as each serving bowl was equally empty by the end of the evening.

Twenty eight year-old Chesapeake native Eric Stanley began playing violin at age 12 with encouragement from his musical family and his teachers. His mother played the piano while he, his sister and brother would sing along. Taking up the violin as an elective in middle school soon developed into Eric’s passion. He joined the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra while in high school.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, Eric began creating YouTube videos remixing popular songs fusing improvisational violin with hip hop, pop, and classical.  He has received the YouTube Silver Play Button surpassing 150,000 subscribers and 21 million total upload views.

In 2015 the “Eric Stanley EP” was released worldwide, featuring four original compositions. His style embodies – without being derivative – the “brilliance and fire” phrasing of Jean-Luc Ponty. This musical prodigy continues to elevate his passion, and has performed for former President Bill Clinton as well as at the International Emmy Awards, the Richmond Jazz Festival, and even at a Cleveland Browns football game.

Eric remains active in his church and often performs with gospel choirs while he tours along the East Coast.

Dovetailing with JAMinc’s mission to bring music to young people, Eric has performed before students in over 200 schools and has raised money to help purchase instruments for deserving students. One of his favorite quotes is, “Trying to be better than someone else is a pure waste of time. Strive to better than you were yesterday.”

Eric often collaborates with fellow violinist Daniel D who will join him for our JAMinc show. In the summer of 2005, Daniel was awarded a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School of Music and in 2007 he won the Apollo Award in New York City.

Want to learn more about Eric? Listen to this WCVE Virginia Currents Episode »

Bruce Molsky and students connect with the violin

Just hours after flying into Richmond, Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters played to an appreciative 125 students at Oregon Hill’s St. Andrew’s School before heading to In Your Ear Studios.

The students were treated to a 45 minute set that included tunes, stories and positive reinforcement about always doing your best and following one’s dreams.
At one point Bruce asked the students if anyone played the violin. He was taken aback when every student raised their hand. It turns out every St. Andrew’s student is required to take violin as part of their instruction. It was a sweet moment for all.

Talking with WRVA’s John Reid

On Feb 12, as part of John Reid’s Giving Tuesday weekly segment, JAMinc board member Tim Timberlake talked up JAMinc with the WRVA morning news host. It was sort of a coming home for Tim, who worked 16 years as Richmond’s morning news host at WRVA.

Listen to the nine minute session on News Radio WRVA.