National touring bluegrass musicians Jakob Breitbach and Jes Raymond have been appointed the inaugural Artists-in-Residence of The Village at White River Junction. The program offers complementary studio space in exchange for providing ongoing entertainment and interaction with community residents. Jakob and Jes will be heard playing and singing throughout the community in areas that are open to residents and guests. They will also offer private lessons to residents and the public, and will frequently collaborate with other musicians and performers as part of The Village’s comprehensive and ongoing activities and events.
“Jakob and Jes are extremely talented musicians and we are so fortunate that they are part of our community.” Executive Director, Jodi Egger said, “They are also very kind people. Our residents are gaining tremendous personal enjoyment by listening to them play and also by building personal relationships with them. Their music is bringing a lot of joy to people.”
Jakob says, “I am delighted to be a part of the community The Village at White River Junction has created here in the Upper Valley. I look forward to contributing to a shared vision. This is a space to explore music and art with all ages with openness and creativity.” Jes continues, “The space and community at The Village is enriching and inspiring, and I have high hopes for the work that our collaboration will produce. I am eager and honored to have been appointed.”
Resident Penny Breed’s son, Will said, “My Mom loves music and knowing that she has so many opportunities to be exposed to it, now that Jakob and Jes are in residence, makes me feel even more strongly what a great place The Village is for my Mom.”
After living in the Seattle area of the Pacific Northwest for about 15 years, Jes and Jakob moved to White River Junction (her hometown). Breitbach, a Midwesterner from the Dubuque Iowa, area, is married to Raymond. The two form the core of their nationally touring band, The Blackberry Bushes.
“We’re a song-focused band, and I’m a songwriter, so we do mostly original music,” Raymond said. “We use bluegrass instrumentation and bluegrass techniques, but our song structures are a little more modern.”
Just across the street from the facility, Jakob and Jes started The Filling Station’s weekly acoustic jam session, just one of a series of regular music projects they organize across the Upper Valley. “We often see a few residents and their family members here for the jam session,” says Jakob.
The Artist-in-Residence concept was part of the early development of the building, co-developer Byron Hathorn said, “what better way for us to be truly connected to the culturally rich downtown than to have area artists working out of our studio and side-by-side our residents?” He continues,“Music communicates in a universal way that can’t be matched by any other medium. It entertains and enriches lives by opening minds and expressing emotions that make life better.”
The Village has dedicated spaces to foster the arts including the Abbott Arts Studio, Crockwell Gallery, Miller Stage and Lyric Cinema.
Historic downtown White River Junction offers a rich cultural district within two blocks of The Village – including Northern Stage, Center for Cartoon Studies, White River Independent Film Festival, The Main Street Museum of Arts, Revolution, Top Top Media artist studios, Briggs Opera House and music venues Café Renae, The Filling Station and The Engine Room, as well as architects and interior designer firms.