ELLENBURG DEPOT - Northern Adirondack Central School music teacher Brian Baker enjoys bringing world-class music to the community. Now, he needs the community to help keep the music alive.
Last school year, Baker brought Tuvan throat singers Alash to the school, and this Friday, Oct. 8, he'll bring Tony Vacca's World Rhythms Ensemble.
"When I found out the money that was there last year wasn't going to be there this year, I got really concerned," explained Baker of budget cuts. "But, [Vacca] has offered to come up and play this concert, knowing that we might not be able to pay him for it right away."
"It really is kind of a leap of faith effort on both our parts," he added.
Vacca's ensemble won't be the only ones on stage that night, however.
"He's going to do a workshop with the kids in school and then the kids will also perform at the concert that evening," said Baker.
Baker said for those who have never heard Vacca and his ensemble, they can be described as "a wall of sound."
"It's just an awesome rhythm," he explained. "It's like a wall of instruments, of percussion ... He blends the world rhythm instruments in with modern instruments as well."
According to Vacca's Web site, www.tonyvacca.com, the sound of the ensemble is a blend of jazz, world music, and spoken word.
"Combing elements of traditional African and Afro-Cuban rhythms with the American-born tradition of innovation, they create a sound that is simultaneously elegant and slamming," states the Web site. "It's the hypnotic and powerful sound of giant West-African balafons; the urban bite of a jazz saxophone; the dreamy lyricism of electric violin; the funk and magic of electric bass like you've never heard. All mixed well with a world of rhythm and some blow-your-mind spectacular percussion."
Baker, who saw Vacca in concert two years ago in Potsdam with a small group of students, said the performance is something different for people in the area to see.
"You don't get that chance very often," he said. "He brings in these world-class musicians from Senegal, West Africa. How often do you get to see Senegalese dancing along with rhythm instruments performing a dance ensemble from West Africa? It's just something I don't think a lot of people would get to see otherwise."
Although the concert, which will begin at 7 p.m., is free to the public, Baker said he feels the event is a fundraiser for the arts department, and he's hoping people will leave donations.
"There seem to be a lot of people that showed interest in the last concert," said Baker. "I guess I would make an appeal to those people and say if they want to see more concerts like that in the future, please come and support the arts department at NAC."
"I would like to bring more events like this to our community so people can enjoy it," he added.
For more information about the concert, contact NAC at 594-3986.