Virtual Village troubadours bring music and smiles to local neighborhoods

Joshua Shelton, Steven Jones and Dale Cole entertain as Virtual Village on Saturday, May 2.

Virtual Village troubadours bring music and smiles to local neighborhoods
May 07
03:15 2020

By Judie Holcomb-Pack defines troubadours as “wandering singers or minstrels.” That is an apt description for Virtual Village, a small group of musicians who are serenading Winston-Salem neighborhoods, bringing music and smiles to people who have been cooped up at home for weeks now.

Tommy Priest, owner of Coffee Park Airstream on Reynolda Road, was not the least bit ashamed to admit he stole the idea from someone else after being told about it by Robert Moyer. Priest and Moyer are both well-known as community arts supporters and Moyer is a haiku poet who coordinates a group that met at Coffee Park Arts café before the coronavirus shut coffee shops down in Winston-Salem. 

Moyer brought the idea to Priest, who immediately jumped on it. He connected with Dale Cole of Gypsy Soul, Joshua Shelton, and Steven Jones of Leadneck, all of whom were excited to have an opportunity to perform again. Priest said, “Musicians are locked out and looking at four walls right now,” and are open to any opportunity to share their music.

At the same time this group was thinking about putting their “show on the road,” Servpro was looking for ways to give back to the community. April Pillery, social media and website manager for Servpro said, “We started with the Children’s Law Fund, then added wristbands with #winstonstrong on them as a fundraiser to support displaced workers.” The wristbands are being sold at Coffee Park Airstream, so it was natural for Priest to mention the idea to Pillery.

The timing was right as Vince Willis, the sales and marketing manager, and Brian and Tanya Carlson, owners of Servpro, were ready to do more for the community. They loved the idea of the band traveling to different neighborhoods, playing and singing to bring joy to people who could use some levity right now. Servpro volunteered the use of a truck and Willis agreed to drive and pull a trailer for the musicians to sit in and perform at each stop. Pillery follows behind in another vehicle and takes photos and videos to post on Facebook.

Priest said, “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed. People are hanging out doors, windows, taking cell phone photos and videos … it’s unadulterated joy.”

Cole added, “The smiles on people’s faces have been amazing.”

On Saturday, May 2, Virtual Village made a stop at Jugg Heads Growlers and Pints on Country Club Road to the delight of their customers. Then they progressed up the street to the Harris Teeter parking lot where people again took photos and videos and a mom and daughter danced to the music. As they left that location and started down the street, they attracted the attention of drivers who honked and waved. 

These traveling troubadours are not letting a virus get in their way as they bring music and joy to neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem.

Follow Dale Cole & the Virtual Village on Facebook to see where they’ll be heading next. Purchase #winstonstrong wristbands at Coffee Park Airstream on Reynolda Road across from the Crossnore School & Children’s Home to support local displaced restaurant workers and others.

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