On Aug. 23, the sound of Athens-Clarke County District 2 Commissioner and rapper Mariah Parker — known as Linqua Franqa — will meld with the slow, but deliberate sound of strategically placed chess pieces. The fifth annual Rhythm on the River will see members of the community meet at water recreation facility Big Dogs on the River.
The upcoming event is nonprofit Chess and Community’s yearly fundraiser, with donations going toward the organization’s many programs.
Chess and Community was established in 2012 by founder Lemuel LaRoche who said he wanted to help local youth develop problem-solving skills.
The event was born out of the need to create a fun and creative fundraising event which would also bring together the community.
“This is the heart of what we do,” LaRoche said. “You see everybody from all backgrounds are here.”
The family-friendly event will feature activities such as volleyball, badminton, cornhole and chess, and Jamaican food from Rashe’s Cuisine will also be provided.
For 15-year-old Dionne McCalla, who’s been an active participant in the organization for five years, the entertainment is often the highlight of the event.
“There are a lot of very musical people in the community that come out during things, just to see different people’s talents and what they have to offer,” McCalla said.
Attendees can enjoy performances from multi-instrumentalist and singer Kishi Bashi, spoken-word poetry from LaRoche — also known as Life the Griot — and hip-hop acts from Squallé and LB.
Montu Miller, board member of Chess and Community said the event is a way for families to experience the talent of artists.
“It’s always a fun event seeing families play together, enjoy music together,” Miller said. “Sometimes you don’t always get to go to shows with your kids.”