Arts & Culture

Come together

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  • The Hilton Head Shore Notes and Hilton Head Jazz Ensemble are two different musical groups. The jazz ensemble plays the brassy big band music of the Swing era. The Shore Notes are a women's vocal group that sings in the barbershop style.

    But the two groups are coming together to discover their similarities rather than their differences.

    The Shore Notes and the Jazz Ensemble will perform in a joint rehearsal Monday at Island Lutheran Church. They hope the venture is the first of several, a chance to take two seemingly disparate groups and find something that can be built upon.

    The link connecting the two groups came from their directors. Beth Green is celebrating her first year anniversary as the leader of the Shore Notes. Her father, Al Hodgkins, once played vibes for the jazz ensemble, so Green was familiar with the group.

    Ellie Perry became director of the jazz ensemble last spring and occasionally plays keyboard in the group. It's relatively new, having started in late 2008. They've been playing at retirement centers and country clubs, some of the same venues, in fact, where the Shore Notes are regulars.

    When Perry took over, she wanted to reach out to other local musical groups.

    "We have a lot of good music on the island," she said. "I thought it could be a good idea to get together to build relationships and share experiences."

    She met with Green, who welcomed the idea.

    The two groups were rather isolated from each other. Each practiced on the same day at the same time. So Green and Perry decided to merge the practices.

    They'll trade songs at the informal show, a sort of dueling banjos type of performance, Green notes. The instruments and styles might be different, but they're looking to pick up cues on where they overlap. Much can be learned about rehearsal techniques and strategies for building a following, Perry said. A firsthand account of musical tastes and performance styles can give an indication of how the two groups can intertwine in the future. And then, the real fun begins.

    "Once you get that collaboration going, all the creative juices start flowing," Perry said. "We see this as a rehearsal for the future."