Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the seeds of Blue Ridge Music Together were planted around 17 years ago, after we (Estela and Dave) met and decided to travel and play music throughout the Western Hemisphere, a journey that took us the better part of two years, all over the United States and through much of Latin America, particularly Mexico, Peru and Brazil. We were deeply inspired with the way music seemed such a spontaneous and natural part of community and family life, with people singing and playing in the streets, markets and buses, dancing and singing together joyfully, so comfortable in their bodies that it felt as natural as a conversation about their day. When we returned back to the United States, we settled in Berkeley, California, where one of Dave’s adult guitar students recruited him to teach Music Together®.
We were very impressed with the way in which Music Together classes not only encouraged parents to nurture their child’s natural love of music in a community setting, but that it instilled in the parents and caregivers that they were the best modeler of musical behavior for their child, no matter what their own ability. After a while, we began to get the itch to start our own family, and so we went on one last long journey to South America to finish some musical projects with friends in Peru and to prepare for the next leg of our journey, into parenthood. Since both of us have our families in Virginia, we decided to return home to Charlottesville and open up a Music Together center. When we arrived, there was already a small center operating here, run by Carol Smoot of Richmond. When we told her of our vision to expand the program here, she agreed to let us take over the center. That was in the spring of 2008, a couple of months after the birth of our eldest daughter, Luna. We are very blessed to have been so warmly embraced by the original families that were involved in the program. Their enthusiasm and generosity of spirit has helped us to grow rapidly, allowing us to see unfolding before us an expanding creative community that will allow our daughters and many other families and children to grow up in an environment where they can experience the same kind of spontaneous joy in musical expression that we were so moved by in our travels. It is our vision to help make our little slice of paradise here in Central Virginia a thriving place of music, culture and dance. We welcome you to share with us in that journey!