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Saxophonist, Guitarist Featured in Free Concert at Harvest Park on Northside, May 20

May 18, 2015 | Press Releases

SPARTANBURG, SC — Trombone and bass guitar paired like fresh lemonade and warm cookies at last Wednesday’s free Voices on the Front Porch concert at Harvest Park on Spartanburg’s Northside. Residents are invited to attend the next performance in the series on Wednesday, May 20, 4-5:30 p.m., featuring saxophonist Tom Wright and guitarist James Tinslay.

Voices on the Front Porch (VOTFP) is a free, casual concert series by Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Chapman Cultural Center that brings together a symphonic professional and a Northside musician for a street-level showcase of local talent. Attendees are encouraged to dance, write, share words, and create visual art with materials provided at no cost. Held on Wednesdays in May and June, VOTFP is one of many efforts to revitalize the underserved Northside community using the arts.

Remaining concert dates are May 20, June 3, and June 10. The rain date is June 17.

“Voices on the Front Porch is a celebration and exploration of the multiple artistic disciplines that Spartanburg has to offer,” Jennifer Evins, President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center, said. “The arts are a bridge to understanding and appreciating one another. These concerts are allowing people of different backgrounds, ages, and races to come together and share culture with one another at the beautiful Harvest Park next to Monarch Café.”

Wright and Tinslay, the featured duo on May 20, will play an array of songs that appeal to a diverse crowd. “We’ll play a mix of things: a few selections from Duke Ellington, some Usher, Bob Marley,” Wright said. “Something for all tastes.”

Saxophonist Wright is eager to collaborate with Northside resident and guitarist Tinslay, who also goes by Crow. Tinslay comes from a musical family, with his father playing guitar, his cousin a well-known violinist, and many others who sing. It was his older brother, however, who taught him to play. “My brother is a gifted musician. He played in bands, travelled the United States, and was even invited to play with big names like The Commodores and Lionel Richie,” Tinslay said. “I wasn’t gifted like my brother, but I was inclined.” Tinslay says he feels blessed by God to have had such a teacher, and cannot wait to collaborate with Wright next Wednesday.

“I can tell you this,” Tinslay said. “Tom is the man. He is taking music to new heights that my guitar hasn’t been able to reach on its own. I’m anxious for Wednesday.”

Wright, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Wofford and the director of Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble, began playing the saxophone professionally in college, though not as part of his academic studies. For Wright, music provided a necessary balance between “abstract and the concrete” while he achieved his PhD in Mathematics from John Hopkins University. After receiving his degree, he continued to learn through collaborations with other professionals. Collaborating for Voices on the Front Porch, he says, is very important to him.

“As a kid, it’s one thing to play music and another to hear from professional musicians, specifically in different contexts,” Wright said, adding that children typically hear and associate music with certain settings such as church and school. “Different contexts help people come together. Music bridges our differences.”

Tinslay hopes that the real output of the VOTFP concert is more than RnB, funk, and reggae. “I want people to ask themselves, ‘What would the world be without music?’ That’s what I want people to walk away with.”

Voices on the Front Porch is creatively supported and organized through a collaboration of The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, The Music Foundation of Spartanburg, Northside Development Group, Northside Voyagers, Spartanburg Art Museum’s COLORS Program, and Nourish.

This program is funded in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

For more information, please call (864) 542-ARTS or visit

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