10 Questions with ... Annie Moses Band
September 24, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Bill Wolaver (composer/arranger/pianist), his wife Robin (vocalist/lyricist/composer/ speaker) and their children Annie (lead vocals, violin), Alex (lead vocals, viola), Benjamin (cello), Camille (harp, keyboard, vocals), Gretchen (violin, mandolin, guitar, vocals) & Jeremiah (guitar).
- 2012 Christmas Bright & Beautiful
- 2012 Ultimate Christmas Collection
- 2012 Pilgrims & Prodigals
- 2009 Christmas with the Annie Moses Band
- 2008 This Glorious Christmas
- 2006 Bethlehem, House of Bread
- 2005 Eden
- 2002 Legacy
- 2002 Cloud 9
- 2002 Message in a Baby
1. Give a brief background/synopsis....family, school, jobs, ministry, experience. Where have you been?
The Annie Moses Band is made up of our family. We've been playing together since we were very young. Over the years we've studied music at Vanderbilt University, Cincinnati Conservatory, and finally, The Juilliard School, where we started to moonlight as the Annie Moses Band. We combined our mom's roots in mountain music, our dad's love of jazz, and our training in classical music, to craft a signature sound that mingles all those influences into one unique mix.
2. So, which one of you is Annie?
My name and the name of the Annie Moses Band comes from our great grandmother, Annie Moses. I am the eldest child of Bill and Robin Wolaver. I am the lead vocalist and first violinist for the Annie Moses Band. My mother's mother, Jane, was the daughter of Annie Moses. We trace the legacy of music and faith in our family back to her. When we started AMB, we wanted to remember the beginning and celebrate it.
3. What does a travel day/concert event look like for a family band....a BIG family band?
We have a lot of fun playing and traveling together. We cover over 80'000 miles a year so we spend a lot of time reading, conversing, and creating. Meeting new people and having the opportunity to share our music is an incredible blessing.
4. What's the funniest/most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to the band?
Well, there are those moments. Before one concert, we were behind this thick door waiting to come out after the introduction. The problem was we couldn't hear anything. There was applause for a moment, but it died away, and we thought announcements were still going on. Then we heard the announcer say, "I said, "Please welcome the Annie Moses Band!" We had a good laugh over that one.
5. Break down your main focus for us. What is the #1 goal of the Annie Moses Band?
To inspire families and communities to once again invest in the artistic development of the next generation. We have experienced firsthand the power of music to bring people together and create life changing experiences. Each summer, we run a two week event called the Fine Arts Summer Academy for young performers, featuring every kind of genre, instrument and artistic skill. We end the two weeks with an original Broadway-style show on an arena stage. The show is customized to fit the skills of the students who attend. To see those young artists excel, to return home inspired to reach deeper and higher with their music, is the highlight of our year.
6. What specific challenges have you've faced and had to overcome? Any ongoing struggles?
Our sound is very different from the cookie cutter genre of a lot of pop music. We've had to overcome negative voices that said we couldn't do it, that there were no outlets for our unique sound. But we have honed our sound to be the best possible representation of who we are, and audiences love it. With Pilgrims & Prodigals, I think we've beautifully showcased the scope of AMB's creative reach through both themes and musical styles.
7. Tell us about "Pilgrims & Prodigals", your new project.
Pilgrims & Prodigals began as a concept I had driving home from NYC one day. Everyone I saw was going somewhere, and I realized that thought was true on a spiritual level too. Some of us are pilgrims heading home; others are prodigals, running away from home. Each of the songs on the album tells one of those two stories. Pilgrims & Prodigals is rich with literary influences and musical diversity, but all woven into this powerful theme. We can't wait to share it with the world.
8. How do you define success for your band? Radio? TV? Exposure? What is your success barometer?
Success for us is raising the artistic bar and expanding the stylistic sentience; success means raising up a new generation of artists who possess excellence of heart and skill, who are equipped to glorify God with their music. We bring a different voice to the world of the arts, and we want to show young artists that a new paradigm is possible. If we leave the stage of our career knowing there are hundreds of burgeoning artists coming up behind us, armed with excellence and an uplifting message to share, that will be our greatest success.
9. You play in a lot of mainstream arenas. How are you able to combine your faith in the marketplace?
Our faith informs everything we do. It is the narrative we are living. It is who we are. We work hard to write music that presents truth in beautiful and unexpected ways. I think that's something everyone can appreciate. Faith has a lens for every situation, and we specialize in refreshing articulations of those perspectives.
10. What 3 artists would you most like to invite to "sit in" with you in concert? (tell me why for each one).
Alison Krauss and Union Station - They were a model for us when we began the Annie Moses Band. They've kept their integrity as artists, maintained their faith along with their craft, written beautiful songs, and are the best at what they do.
Andrea Bocelli- He has a sound that combines classical beauty with an accessible style, something for which we've always striven. His skill is exceptional and he brings such dignity to the stage.
Brad Paisley - He's one of the best guitarists playing, but even better, he's funny and has a blast on stage. He is a family man with a high level of integrity.
1. Dinner burns one evening, and as you're still clearing the smoke, a pizza delivery guy rings the front doorbell. What do you do?
I would praise God for hearing my inner prayer! It would be a miracle, right? (unless I had called in the order). Hopefully, it would be a veggie pizza with a thin crust for the weight conscious. If the pizza man was at the wrong door, I would try to help him find the right house.
2. Favorite movie or book.
You will hear a lot of literary references in Pilgrims & Prodigals: Bunyan, Poe, Frost, Shakespeare, & Salinger.
Of course the Bible tops 'em all. But that goes without saying.
We love films and books, especially foreign films and classic literature. "To Kill A Mockingbird," both the movie and the book, is a family favorite. We love the southern flavor, and the scene were Scout is standing on the front porch of the Radley house, where she suddenly sees life from Boo's point of view.
We love the scene in "The Lord of the Rings" where Gandalf tells the Balrog, "You shall not pass!" We have felt chased by a Balrog a few times too, and have reenacted that scene.
We love all things Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, both wonderful storytellers and writers.
We read and reread C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, and believe their friend, Charles Williams-father of the spiritual thriller-to be a genius.
We do everything we can to make readers aware of the classic fairy tales of George MacDonald, a 19th Century minister who had great influence on both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. His work is stunning in depth and spiritual allegory.
We also love poetry, especially the work of T.S. Elliot, who became a Christian in adulthood. His work carries great potency and spiritual impact.
3. You're asked to accompany a blind friend to the Grand Canyon, and he/she asks you to describe what you are seeing. What would your description be?
I would start with the words, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..."