GREENVILLE, N.C. Eastern North Carolina is rich with music of all kinds but is known for having produced some of the most transformative figures in the history of jazz, gospel and popular music. PirateFest, Greenville's signature community festival, plans to celebrate that very culture and history with its opening act on Friday, April 8.
The Monitors, a 10-piece jazz band, will kick off the festival on Friday as part of the African American Music Trail made possible through a grant provided by the North Carolina Arts Council.
The Monitors, led by Bill Myers, have been playing legendary jazz music for 50 years. The band is made up Sam Latham on drums, Gerald Hunter on guitar, Jerome Morgan on bass, Clark Mills Jr. on piano, Dick Knight on trumpet, Fred Moye on tenor saxophone, Donald Tuckson on saxophone, Wille Dupree on baritone, Mollie Hunter on vocals and Bill Myers on flute.
"We have such a rich heritage of African American music here in Pitt County," said Holly Garriott, Executive Director of the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge.
"Bill Myers is from Greenville, and was one of the founders of the African American Music Trail. We are thrilled that we can showcase this talent at Greenville's signature festival."
Bill Myers created the band in 1957, alongside Cleveland Flowe, to make available to the public a band that could play a variety of music for any occasion. Myers, the only remaining member from the original group, graduated from Virginia State University with a B.S. Degree in Music and has two Master's Degrees from East Carolina University.
"We are excited and anxious to play in Greenville at PirateFest," said Myers. "Pitt County was included in the initial phase of the African American Music Trail, so our visit is very meaningful. We always find the community to be very welcoming, and all are sure to have a good time."
PirateFest begins Friday, April 8, 5-9pm with live music and a grog garden at the Roses Parking Lot on 4th and Evans Street, a Carnival at Five Points Plaza, and food and art vendors along Evans Street from 5th to 3rd Street.
The festival continues Saturday, April 9, 10am-7pm, with food, art and non-profit vendors, live mermaids, a pirate encampment, 2 grog gardens, a carnival, and live music all day long, including a free concert from Smash Mouth on the Town Common at 5:00pm.
For a full list of PirateFest 2016 performances and activities, visit www.piratefestnc.com
Tiffany Gay, Uptown Greenville
408 South Evans St. Suite 102 Greenville, NC 27835
P: (252) 561-8400