455 S Westgate Ave.
Columbus, OH 43204
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
This years’ theme for Summer Jam West was “the peace train”.
Sidebar: This was a festival packed with a lot of activities so pace yourself.
Tell me about your car.
This is a 1976 Chevy Malibu. I have been working on it 20 years. It was given to me. It was decorated at a county fair in California. It was a mess. I had to spend the first two years taking things off. Then, I started putting things on. The theme is the garden of good and evil. I have three art cars. This is my medium.
Tell me about your ride.
I do a girls rhythm and rock camp in the summer. My theme is female characters and music events. It is a Kia Sol so, I named it Soul Sister. Ramona and Greg talked me into it. Once you start it, you will be hooked. I started at the Hot Times Festival about a year and a half ago.
I love it! People come up and talk to you that never would. You can be parked somewhere random and people come over. It makes people happy. People are always taking pictures. It is like having the Doo Dah parade 365 days a year.
Is this your ride (primary car)?
We are alternative music from right here, in Columbus, Ohio. We have been a band for about three years. We have new music coming out November 2 at the Basement (our second EP (extended play) record release). We are so excited.
What is the name of your first project?
Our first EP is called “Ghost of You.” You can find that on any place where music is streamed.
Sidebar: In the first picture, you can see the top of the little girl’s head. The girl dished the line to tell Kenzie Coyne how much she loved the music. The interaction between them was priceless!
There were a lot of kid’s activities:
There were activities for all ages:
One of the highlights of this festival is watching members of the Chalk Guild create live chalk art.
Tell me what you do and how it feels to be the inspiration of live art.
I’d say music, but I also do photography on the side. This makes me really happy. I have known Hillary for years. I went to school with her kids. What an honor. She is really talented.
Tell me about your band.
I’m in a band called Snarls. I’d say we do alternative rock. We have an all female front end (female guitarist) and Max on drums. We like to play downtown. We went on a couple of tours. We are just trying to get the ball rolling. We have been together for a year and a half.
I am 19. I am just starting to get myself out there. If you follow me and you like my stuff, please don’t hesitate to message me. I am willing to work with anybody.
Is this a family affair?
It is a family affair and I also do it on my own. We have been doing this since 2013 in Texas.
Did you drive all the way from Texas to participate?
No. We moved here about two and a half years go. We live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am part of the Chalk Guild. They told me about Summer Jam West and that is why my family is participating.
Is this your day gig?
This is a weekend gig. I have another art related job where I work with kids. This stuff I like to do on the side: commission and mural work.
We are passionate about sharing art, love, and faith. It all comes together when you create stuff.
Tell me about yourself and what you are doing today.
I have been doing chalk since 2014. I do it about five or six times a year. Today, I am doing John Lennon. I am named after Paul McCartney. I figure I would do John Lennon since it is the peace train. I have been an artist since I was sixteen. I went to Ringling Arts School in Sarasota and graduated in 1989. I just moved back to Ohio about five years ago. There is a big chalk scene in Florida. The weather is perfect there all year around. I’m glad they have a chalk scene here.
Give peace a chance. Imagine peace because that is what the world needs.
Tell me about your organization.
We are a non-profit community bike shop or a bicycle cooperative. We provide a space where people can come in and use our stand, use our tools, and get help fixing up their bike. If you are an experienced mechanic, we have all the tools, grease, or anything you might want at a professional grade bike shop to do repairs. If you are a novice, we have volunteer mechanics on hand to coach you through the process, so you learn about bike maintenance and repair. We do classes. We have community rides. We support youth programs all over the city. We do a lot of things centered around community building bicycles.
Tell me about the rides.
We have two monthly bike rides. Community ride is education focused. We take people on a 5 mile tour of Franklinton and the downtown area the third Wednesday evening of the month.. It is a really pretty ride. We ask people to pre-register. We have a ride leader and a sweep to make sure people don’t get left behind. We talk about different traffic situations as we go. The other one is our coffee outside ride series. We bike to a different metro park. The first Sunday of the month at 9.30am. We start at the bike shop, then ride to the park and brew coffee at the park, socialize, chat for a while, then ride back. Typically, those rides are ten miles each way.
What about a bathroom?
I make sure that there is at least a portajohn.
Franklinton Cycle Works is for everybody. If you enjoy riding a bike, I think we have something for you. Check us out online. Come visit us. I think it is a good community to be a part of and we would like to have you.
Sidebar: I included pictures of children creating art to demonstrate centrifugal force
at the Cosi Festival (https://www.614whats2love.com/home/cosi-science-festival). I wanted to do it then, but there were children waiting. Today, there was no line, so I did it!
Tell me about your band.
We started about ten years ago with a band called “Pirates of the Scioto.” Then me and Lynn, the guitarist, separated from them and started “Zoo Trip.” Then, rebranded to “Zoo Trippin’.” We have been around for about five years as “Zoo Trippin’.”
What type of rock?
I would say, we are blues based rock. It is alternative as well. We have a little funk, a little soul and a little hip hop.
I have heard you play at other festivals. Are you gonna keep all your clothes on today?
Summer Jam West is very family friendly. I have received emails giving me a heads up that it is family friendly.
Sidebar: At another festival down town he started the set with a hat, shirt, tie, and pants by the end of the set, he had on a neck tie and boxer shorts.
Is this event important to you because you grew up in this area?
Very much so. I’m from the Hilltop. We didn’t have a whole lot of stuff like this when we were growing up. It is really cool that you can see music and do all these arts. You can get a $1 pop and a $1 snow cone with all the inflation going on in the world. We had the bean dinner and that was kind of nice, but that was it.
You should have asked me who are hugs and kisses.
Where do you see hugs and kisses, what are you talking about?
Hugs and Kisses is Columbus’ best kept secret. They are a theatrical act.
Are you part of it?
No, not at all. I just love talking about it because they are so rare and mind blowing.
Sidebar: Talking to Tony Casa was a breath of fresh air. It is rare that performers mention other performers. After this conversation, I made it a point to stay an extra half an hour to listen to most of their set. They had the crowd hyped. My personal favorite in the set was “Signed, Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours.”
My Take: Fellowship around the arts has the ability to bring us together by starting a conversation (if we make the effort). This festival is balanced in what is offered. There is something for everyone.
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I arrived at the Faith Ministries Church a few minutes early. I have been attending gospel concerts for over 30 years in the Columbus, Ohio area. This was my first time attending a Raise Productions concert. It seems odd because the choir has been in existence for about 33 years.
Sidebar: The excitement and the fun the group members were having during this song was contagious. I almost forgot that I was there to take pictures…
Sidebar: During the early part of the concert, I concentrated on making sure I stayed out of the video team members way and taking pictures. I started really listening to the choir on a cappella song, “Were you there”. The harmony was amazing!
Sidebar: A few of the lyrics of this song are “He could have chose another way to show he loved us, He could have chose another way to show He cared, yet he chose to die on Calvary. Just to think that he did it all for me”. I could have listened to this song for about 15 minutes more. Enough said.
Raise Productions has been around for a while. Tell me what is going on.
We started in 1985. It has been 34 years since Raise has been in existence. We are still moving. Initially, we started with the school and teaching private lessons in a house on 22nd Street. Then, we moved to the King Arts Complex and were there several years. Then, we moved to our own facility on Cleveland Ave. We taught classes in the arts. We had a vision to develop an accredited program. We had 5 or 6 teachers at that point. Most of the teachers went back to school to start getting their master’s Degree or additional degrees to be able to teach. I went back to school and got my Master’s and doctorate and started teaching at Ohio State, and at Dennison and now I’m teaching at Indiana University. We still have the publishing company. It still provides music for choirs and people all over the world. Brother Frank Lane runs Raise in Columbus. I promote Raise from Indiana and all over the world. The choir is still together and still sings. The choir is 33 years old and still has some of the original members.
A Raise Resurrection is an Easter concert which celebrates the story of Christ from Palm Sunday through the resurrection with anthems, spirituals, gospel songs, narratives, scriptures etc.
We don’t sing as often because I am all over the place. When we come together, it is always a blessed time. It is a reminder of how pleasant it is for brethren to come together in unity, to sing and experience the power of God.
Any projects coming soon?
We have been working on a project for a little while. We just haven’t been able to get it finished. The project is called, “Still Raising Gospel Music Higher.” On our first concert and album over 30 years ago we had a song called “Raising Gospel Music Higher”. That was our motto for Raise. We have beautiful music that the Lord has given us. We are just waiting to get it out.
Do you write most of the songs the group performs? Toot your own horn for a minute.
I have been composing since I was 9. I have written over 600 compositions. With Raise choir, I write all the music. That is primarily because the Lord has gifted me as a composer. They are a group that we developed to be able to share the music that God gave to me.
Tell me more about the progression of Raise.
We started teaching lessons in a house, but always had a vision to have an accredited school. Having come through traditional classical training in undergraduate school, I realized that gospel music did not mix with classical music and it was not welcome in the academy. That burned in me a vision that people need to learn how to do gospel music in an academic setting and not be made to feel that gospel music is inferior. When we started the community arts school, we were trying to develop the courses and curriculum to teach people to do what we do in African American churches through gospel music. We were blessed to do that, then the Lord called us to a higher platform where He gave us the arena. We were able to take our programming into academic settings and now we literally teach in college and universities all over the world. A lot of choirs perform this music all over the world. If you search for Raymond Wise on www.youtube.com, there are over 400 pieces posted. Not even one did I post. There are choirs from all over the world performing this music. The Lord is blessing this ministry to be a worldwide ministry in terms of the curriculum, music, products and sheet music.
What should I have asked that I didn’t ask that you are dying to tell me?
We are blessed to have been here for this many years, the longevity that the Lord has given us but there is still more. While we are expanding, the Lord is opening new doors in other arenas. There is still that vision to be able to train and help musicians in non-academic as well as church settings to learn how to do this music in a wonderful way. We still have a vision that one day there will be a center for the gospel arts where people can come from all over the world to do this music.
How do we contact you?
All our products and contact information are on www.raiseonline.com. We don’t sing as often, but we still do sing. If people want us to do specific things, we just need to know in advance. We do clinics, workshops, etc.
How long have you been a member and why do you participate?
I have been a member since I was 19 years old. It has impacted my life by helping to enlighten me to pray for people and lay my hands-on people while I am giving them a massage. I am a professional massage therapist. It has taken me out of a dark place in my life. About 30 years ago, I considered committing suicide. The music and the words to the music lifted me up from that dark place and encouraged me to go forward.
The group is unique in that we sing 6-part harmony. By that I mean first soprano, second soprano, first alto, second alto, first tenor, second tenor, and bass. Usually you don’t find that in groups from Columbus Ohio. You get soprano, alto, tenor. Half of the tenors are baritones and they are screaming their part. Screaming impacts your voices.
We also sing in different languages. We sing in German which is wild to me. It is a gift that Raymond has given us to be able to interpret gospel music in German.
Years ago, we had the opportunity to sing at a Jewish synagogue with a choir from Renalt Israel. They had a piece of our music, we had a piece of their music. When we came together as family, it was phenomenal. We were so much on one accord that both groups wore royal blue without planning it. We have been exposed to many arenas that most African American choirs do not get the opportunity to be exposed to.
Why do you sing in Raise?
The impact of his music. His music is all scripturally based. I love the arrangements of his music. You don’t find his music being played over and over on the radio. It is a totally different style. One person said they don’t know whether to clap or sit and listen.
The group exposes my vocal range.
Are you trying to tell me you can “blow”?
I won’t say that. Someone else might say that, but I won’t.
What part do you sing?
Second soprano. My vocal range has changed. I used to sing first soprano.
If you are singing with Dr. Raymond Wise , we know you are hitting the correct notes.
His second soprano is most choirs first soprano range. Raymond writes very high, but he gives you the training and breathing techniques, etc. We warm up properly all the time before we sing. We don’t stress that in the black choirs. We just sung 10 songs and I am not hoarse. In other choirs, I would have been hoarse by the fourth song. With this group he demands excellence and unity, the musicians are not out playing one another, The musicians want to hear what we are singing.
My take: I completed the group piano lessons offered at the school in the mid-1990s. I knew Dr. Raymond Wise was a talented musician and singer prior to attending the concert. I didn’t know what to expect. This concert told the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scriptures were not only read by narrators but displayed visually on screens in the front of the sanctuary. A few of the members gave their testimony of how the group and/or songs has impacted their lives over the years. This was a concert that was more than singing and playing instruments in excellence. It was ministry in excellence. “Just to think that He did it all for me” …. Enough said.