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The Richmond Planet
Afro Soul Ensemble

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What it is?

The Template

In High School I remember when The Preservation Hall Jazz Band came to my High School.  I was one of hundreds of public school music students that attended the concert that day.  They were mostly senior citizens at the time.  But there was one 20 year old player among the seven.  Along with playing saxophone he acted as the spokesman for the evening. 






Their stated purpose was to teach Jazz history.  But they did so much more.  After the show they allowed some of us on stage while they played.They played a funkier modern version of Jazz.  And it was POPPIN”!

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Let's Get It Started

In that same spirit The Richmond Planet Foundation has enlisted 7 musicians for RVA’s version of New Orleans' longest playing example of their city’s culture. 

The Richmond Planet Afro Soul Ensemble is a 7 piece brass and rhythm band.   Using a more modern approach they will explore Jazz with contemporary genres.  These include Funk, Go Go, Afro Beat Ska and other styles. 

More than entertainment they will use modern media to explain our collective history through music.  As part of The Richmond Planets Foundations' mission to bring new styles of storytelling to the community at large.

The Richmond Planet Afro Soul Ensemble (RPASE) is a grant funded program of The Richmond Planet Foundation (501c3).  

Located in the heart of Richmond’s historic Carver community, RPASE is part of the ongoing restoration of Moore Street School, 1113 West Moore Street, opened in 1887 as a public school for African-American students.  The program seeks to perform both as entertainment and a tool to foster historic education projects of various organizations. 

The roster will evolve over time.  Each of the seven spots will be funded through grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and other grant and donation sources.  Players are compensated for performances and scheduled practice sessions.  The music director of the program consults with the foundation to structure a repertoire that incorporates music to match the overall vision.

The composition of the band is primarily acoustic.  Drums, Tuba, Trombone, Trumpets and Saxophone.  There will be an electronic piano when needed.  But the goal is to create a New Orleans styled “Second Line” brass band.  The moniker “Afro Soul Ensemble” hopes to encompass more than pre millennium Jazz.   America has it’s own diaspora of music from Motown to James Brown.  Virginia has been a haven to Gospel, Soul and Go Go.


Program Director Musician and Educator BILL McGee

To use the music of post reconstruction African Americans to enhance the perception and understanding of American history.  These styles include but aren’t limited to:  Blues, Ragtime, Swing, Big Band, Gospel, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll, Reggae, Hip Hop and Go Go.The RPASE is available for fundraisers and music festivals.  Corporate booking is handled through  Stone River Records and The Richmond Planet Foundation. Fees for nonprofits are negotiable.

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