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Jazz violinist astounds Lovejoy Fallfest crowd

Ken Ford among musical guest at festival

Special Photo
Children joined Jazz violinist Ken Ford on stage. Ford told the crowd on hand for the 2012 Lovejoy Fallfest he has a foundation for children.

Special Photo Children joined Jazz violinist Ken Ford on stage. Ford told the crowd on hand for the 2012 Lovejoy Fallfest he has a foundation for children.

LOVEJOY — “He was violectric!” exclaimed Niecy Dobson of Atlanta, coming up with her own word to describe the following: “The way he moved his leg and his electrifying smile and I loved the way he walked through the crowd playing the violin!”

Dobson said she was more than excited following the Ken Ford concert. “I was really feeling down when I got here, but now I can’t even put into words how powerful he was, WOW!”

Ford’s jazz concert concluded the 2012 Lovejoy Fallfest held Saturday at the Lovejoy Community Center and Mayor’s Park.

Dobson along with two of her friends, Nancy Martin and Carla Jones, were among thousands who attended Fallfest.

“He was outstanding!” said Martin, of Union City. “He is a very charismatic performer.”

“I enjoyed his story about how his father would encourage him to continue playing the violin when he was little boy,” said Jones, of Atlanta. “The part about how his dad would say, ‘Play something to help me go to sleep,’ that was beautiful. But, what I really loved about him is how he is bringing the music to the children with his foundation.”

Ford described himself as an advocate for keeping music education in the schools. He conducts “Making the Violin Fun” workshops for youngsters. He works with about 160 students per year. The students range in ages 5 to 18, Ford added.

“I want to make sure that orchestras are not dropped out of public schools,” he said. “So many schools wanted to get involved that we had to move the workshops to a larger venue at the Georgia Public Broadcasting Building in Atlanta.”

Ford and his band performed what he described as “old school music,” by artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, and Kool and the Gang. He also performed some tunes from his fifth and newest CD entitled, “State of Mind” during the festival.

“People got a chance to hear the violin in a different way,” Ford said. “I wanted to let people know you can play any kind of music on the violin, not just classical music. Most people find it hard to believe that on my CDs it is a violin lead on all of the songs.”

Ford performed for the third time for the annual Lovejoy Fallfest by popular demand, according to Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright. The Lovejoy mayor thanked the crowd, which completely covered the Lovejoy Community Center parking lot.

“I am glad to see our neighbors here from surrounding communities,” Cartwright said. “It really does my heart good to see the citizens of Lovejoy enjoy themselves at our Fallfest. Every year, the Fallfest gets bigger and bigger. I love Lovejoy!”

Throughout the day vendors sold a variety of food including fried fish, barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, and funnel cakes. Other vendors sold healthy teas, jewelry, arts and crafts.

The Kid Zone sponsored by Sacred Praise United Methodist Church was a big with children, said the pastor of the church, Bert Neal. Neal served as the master of ceremonies for the 2012 Lovejoy Fallfest.

“We want the community to see the church outside of Sunday morning,” Neal said. “That is what this is all about. We consider ourselves partners with the city of Lovejoy.”

Children spent the afternoon playing on inflatables, pretending to play in a rock band with a mobile, having their faces painted by Sweat Pea the Clown, riding ponies and having a hands-on experience with bunnies, a snake, and a parrot at the petting zoo.

Other musical performances included blues band “Mike Delaney and the band,” a cover band, and blues band “Josh Bias and the 6:30 band.”

“I have really been enjoying the music,” said Brenda Risby of Illinois. “It reminds me of Chicago, especially the blues band. They were cool.”

Timothy Vondell Jefferson of Hampton said he hopes other cities in Henry County would collectively work on other ideas and events for the betterment of the citizens of Clayton County.

“The musicians sound pretty good, I am pleasantly surprised,” said Jefferson. “I give kudos to the city of Lovejoy for being progressive and assertive by reaching out to the citizens.”

Lovejoy City Councilman Tommy Green said the Lovejoy Fallfest is the city’s signature event.

“We do this to give back to the community,” Green said. “This is our way of telling the citizens how much we appreciate them and how much we appreciate their support. This event is for the entire family. That is why we invite Ken Ford as a repeat performer, he greets people in the crowd, by shaking their hands and saying hello. He exemplifies what Lovejoy is all about.”

For more information about the Ken Ford Foundation, visit kenford.net or thekenfordfoundation.org.