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Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band R&B Rock


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"Summer theater camp students to perform at Paramount"

ANDERSON — This past week, some 25 local schoolchildren have been attending summer camp, learning crafts and building confidence.

The rugged, rustic setting for their adventure? The Paramount Theatre.

“Change Is Coming” is the project that the students have been learning, under the professional eyes of recording artist Chris “PM” Jones and Anderson teacher Lamar Flowers, who owns Rage Music Group. Also helping out have been parents and teachers from several schools.

“They’ve all been working really hard,” said Jones, 29, a longtime musician from Nashville who records at Martina McBride’s Blackbird Studios.

Jones said the show was “turning out very well. We’ve been working for about a month now, and those who didn’t have any experience have been able to take experience for those who have. And they’ve been soaking it up.”

On the program are two songs by Jones, including “I Am,” a powerful R&B; anthem and the first single off his album “Past Midnight,” due to drop in December. Other songs, including “The Way I Praise” and “Fight for the Lord,” are written and sung by an Anderson trio called The Levites: sisters Aisha and Paris Wilkerson, and their brother, Kenya.

“We’re really just now placing them into the marketplace,” Jones said. “They’ll be seen a lot more around the city here in the coming months.”

“I’m glad I came,” said Paris, 16, a student at Anderson High School. “I’ve learned a lot about stage presence. When the spotlight’s on you, you always have to take control. You have to draw people in with you.”

James Golden, 12, a student at North Side Middle School, said he had been interested in music “since my brother was 16 and started a Christian rap group.” He said he had enjoyed the singing and dancing, but that the takeaway for him had been something else entirely.

“I knew that teamwork was supposed to be useful,” James said, “but I’ve learned the importance of it on stage.”

One of the smallest performers, Christopher “C.J.” Wilkerson, 5, said that “the most fun is we get to dance while the music is going. But we don’t have to sing or nothing.”

Gayle Jones Burris, managing director of the theater, said the project had initially been planned by another organization, with funds from another foundation. The Paramount came to the rescue, with funding from Madison County Community Foundation. Help also came from the YMCA, which hosted the students for lunch, via the free-lunch program.

Jones and Flowers, who run Rage Music Group, point out that “Rage” stands for “Releasing Anxiety to Gain Excellence.” Flowers, a Chicago native, and Jones formed Rage a year ago.

“Lamar has several programs where he’s in the community, working with kids,” Jones said. “He connected with Gayle here at the Paramount. She asked if we’d like to be involved (in the camp), and we were more than adamant about saying yes.”

Of the 25 students, 10 are ages 5 through 11. The rest are high school age. To participate, each student had to submit an application as well as an essay explaining his or her reasons for wanting to join the project.

Flowers, who teaches the Fresh Start program for at-risk students at Ebbertt Education Center, said parents and community leaders as well as groups had been helpful in organizing the show.

“The YMCA and Character Counts have been involved,” Flowers said. “Our local church, New Liberty Church of God in Christ, they were actually a lot of help in getting the word out to the kids.”

He added that this might be the first of future such programs. “This is going to start hopefully a trend with having theater camp here at the Paramount.”

Jones said that, while the program was useful in giving students a “positive outlook,” it also provided an exposure to the world of creativity.

“It allows the children to expand their minds,” he said. “Plus, it keeps kids more actively wanting to participate in what’s going on in the schools. When you take away a lot of the creative activities, it has a tendency to draw down the kids’ potential in the solid studies as well.”
- The Herald Bulletin


"Character" Album Released August 2010



Born as Chris Jones in the heart of Kentucky, this refined singer’s first encounters with the potent and elevated sounds of music came through his church choir. Although very young and still very much impressionable, it was because of this start in music that Jones as well as those around him would attentively recognize his vocal aptitude. “In spite of the fact that I was so young and nervous then, my desire to sing and love for music overshadowed any fear I had… Even now I still get nervous before a performance, but this gift God has given me allows me to push through any fear or anxiety.” Having a heart-on-sleeve singing style tied with good intonation and a buttery vibrato, Jones realized that singing was more than a forte but his true calling. With this dignified solemnity of purpose, PM brings intensity and confessed spirituality to his growing maturity in his music. PM's hard work has not only allowed him to work on his own powerful natural vocal instincts and lyrical skills, but also to work along side some of today’s top producers and artists such as Niko Bolas, Sanchez Harley, Drum Squad Productions, Jody Breeze, Young Jeezy, Nessa Morgan, and Young Buck, just to name a few. Currently working close with John and Martina McBride's Blackbird Studio and Character Counts has definitely certified PM’s true ability not only vocally, but as a bona fide craftsman for genuine music. “It isn’t everyday that you get to do what you love doing all the time… For me this is a dream… that I hope never to wake from.”