An original family band

The Annie Moses Band is six siblings and dad offering an eclectic musical mix

By Neill Caldwell

Reading the background on The Annie Moses Band might remind the reader of the Von Trapp family … musical parents encouraging their large and talented brood into music as a profession and hanging together to perform as a group. Only no lederhosen here, this family band is all-American. The Partridge Family with harp and violins.

The Annie Moses Band is comprised of parents Bill and Robin Wolaver, along with their children Annie, Gretchen, Alex, Ben, Camille and Jeremiah. Although Mom is more behind the scenes as composer and arranger, it still makes for quite the family gathering on stage. “With drums and backup vocalists, we have ten people on stage, and playing 15 different instruments,” said lead singer and violinist Annie Wolaver Dupre from her Nashville home.

Dupre was just 18 when the band was created in 2002. It was named for the siblings’ maternal great-grandmother, who grew up a sharecropper in North Texas. While she was not a musician, she made sure her daughter was. Thus a family legacy was born.

“Both of our parents were in the professional music business, and that was a wonderful foundation for us,” said Dupre. “there was always music in the house and it was a very creative atmosphere. We always played together as a family.” At one point the family moved from Nashville to New York so that several of the children could study at Julliard.

“We always thought that we would pursue classical careers,” Dupree continues, “but when the time came we wanted something more personal, more stylistically diverse as a professional endeavor.” The result is a unique blend: classical instruments playing pop favorites flavored with a little bit of everything from jazz to bluegrass.

“Do we have classical roots? Absolutely,” says Dupre. “At the core we’re essentially a classical ensemble of instruments – harp, piano, violin – inside the trappings of a commercial music band. The result is familiar sounds in a way the audience have not heard them before.”

The Annie Moses Band will perform a concert of Christmas favorites on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be all about Christmas, of course, of which the band also has quite a collection of selections. A two-disk Christmas album released by the band in 2009 includes 30 songs.

This summer’s album release, “American Rhapsody,” debuted at No.5 on the Classic/Crossover chart. It features songs with the feel of the American West and South, crowned by an amazing bluegrass version of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” It also contains some original music.

In support of that album the band has just completed its first overseas tour, to the United Kingdom in November. Even more notable is a PBS special coming up in March called “The Art of the Love Song,” which will also be the band’s next recording, with a planned released in March as a companion to the TV special, which was taped at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. That promises to increase the family’s exposure.

“It’s a beautiful special,” adds Dupre, “and it will definitely take us to a new level. We were able to take some classic love songs that have stood the test of time and re-imagine those songs in a new way. “We’ve tried to use a slow and steady approach to be true to the music and the art, the joy, of performing. But it’s been an awesome ride so far.”

The band supports its own foundation which helps youth get musical training, and hosts a summer fine arts camp in Nashville.

The Annie Moses Band has recorded 12 albums, several concert DVDs and has an extensive collection of videos on YouTube. The group plays about 80 concerts a year, and played Carnegie Hall in April 2014. In addition, Robin Wolaver released a memoir in 2013 titled “The Song of Annie Moses” that has become a best seller. Vocalist Joshua Carswell, a North Carolina native and graduate of Elon College, will be the opening act for the band at the Dec. 17 concert.

Tickets are $29 for adults, $27 for seniors and students, $10 for children under 10, and are available atwww.etix.com. For more information about the concert, visit anniemosesband.com, www.bccowa.com or call (910) 755-7416.

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