Richard Bland opens up concert summer series

Richard Bland College of William & Mary kicked off its summer concert series Music in the Grove Wednesday.

This was the first of three summer concerts featuring a band called James River Groove featuring members of Virginia Commonwealth University’s pep-band the Peppa’s. The concert series is free, but food and beverage sales are helping promote Richard Bland College students.

“Music in the Grove is a free concert series for the community,” Joanne Williams, Director of Communications said. “All proceeds from the sale of food and drink go to the advancement of 100 percent student success at Richard Bland College of William & Mary.”

James River Groove played an impressive set featuring instrumental jazz tunes as well as an array of familiar covers. The Humanities and Sciences building, soon to be converted to dorms, provided surprisingly good sound quality for an outdoor concert. Joanne said the shape of the building is ideal for these events, something the student body craves.

“Many attending Richard Bland College are first generation college students,” Joanne said, “and the high quality, affordable education offered here is attractive. Richard Bland College outpaced all Virginia colleges and universities in enroolment in 2015-2016 with an increase of over 42 percent. The graduating class of 2016 was the largest in College history.”

The grove is one of Virginia’s treasures. Joanne said the Richard Bland College of William and Mary has the oldest and largest pecan groves in Virginia, made up of nearly 1,000 pecan trees. The college is planning an annual Pecan Festival for the community, students, the region and tourists to the region. The festival along with the Music in the Grove series will help Richard Bland College continue to award more scholarships, grants and financial aid to students.

“Richard Bland College began harvesting the pecans two years ago, then selling the nuts to a distributor,” Joanne said. “The college is in the process of purchasing a sheller.”

The sheller will provide hands on experience for student workers as they assist in harvesting the pecans. Richard Bland College is partnering with a local company to package the pecans under the Richard Bland College brand. The proceeds from the pecans will be used for grove maintenance and student advancement. This hands-on experience will give Richard Bland College students the ability to take a product from field to shelf.

The next concert in the Music in the Grove series will feature the Smoke and Wine Band on June 22. The gates open at 5:30 P.M. with music starting at 6 P.M. Brown Distributing will be on site pouring a fine selection of beers and food will be provided by Richard Bland College. The college recommends bringing lawn chairs or a blanket.

Featured Photo: Ben May/Prince George Journal
Concessions at the Music in the Grove concert series event held last week.

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