By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Friday, December 5th, the Midnight Hour Band along with opening act RockVille will play the best of British rock live at Leblon’s Paissandú Club during an event which will take place in support of the Rio organization, Art & Social Transformation.

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Love of the arts, music and dances unites The Art & Social Transformation organization and has helped to change lives, photo courtesy of Anna Whyte.

Known for hosting music and dance workshops and programs for the young people of Rio de Janeiro’s underprivileged communities, the Art & Social Transformation organization was founded six years ago by Wainer Guimaraes in partnership with Paul Wiseman, the former head of The British School, Rio de Janeiro and Steven Levine, the President of CalArts.

The project originated from the idea and hope that education in the arts could foster social change and during the years since its founding, the organization’s impact and potential became clearer with new doors of opportunity opening for the youth of the communities and new relationships formed that strengthened their roles in the larger city and world.

Hosted at the British School, some Art & Social Transformation music and dance workshops feature children from the underprivileged communities playing and learning, alongside students of the British school in Rio.

Seeing the benefits of the programs, many others in the greater community took note and wanted to help the organization continue what they felt was good work. “Each year, Art & Social Transformation struggles to obtain all the funding required to operate its programs for underprivileged youth,” Anna Whyte, who helped organize the Best of British Rock night, told The Rio Times. “We thought that the Best of British Rock event could generate more awareness of Art & Social Transformation and jump start the funding campaign that it needs.”

“The group of volunteers producing this event are big supporters of the arts, in particular, music and dance,” said Whyte. “All are either expats or have ties to Britain. Many are also parents of British School students and alumni, and have seen first hand the benefits and success stories that have resulted directly from Arts & Social Transformation initiatives.”

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Neville Thorley and his group the Midnight Hour Band will perform well known British hits during the Best of British Rock Event, photo courtesy of Neville Thorley.

Neville Thorley, frontman of the Midnight Hour Band, the headliners of the Best of British Rock Event, is himself, a British expatriate living in Rio de Janeiro.

“I have been involved in music in Brazil since I arrived here in the mid 80s,” Thorley told The Rio Times. “My present band, the Midnight Hour Band, has performed in many events since it´s creation in 1997. In the past I have been involved in many other charities, notably INCA, the Cancer hospital in Centro.”

“I recently joined forces with Anna Whyte, who I discovered had similar ideas to mine and together we formed a committee alongside Steve Rimmer, Jenny Byers and Kevin Wick, stalwarts of the British Community here in Rio,” Thorley continued. “I believe this to be an honorable and worthwhile charity in that it provides opportunities to Brazilian kids from poorer backgrounds who have musical and artistic abilities. As musician this charity is a perfect fit for me.”

Thorley and his bandmates will perform their reinterpretations of the best of Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Cream, Queen, Deep Purple, YES, Simple Minds, The Beatles, Peter Frampton, Sting, David Bowie, Elton John, and many more during the event.

Opening act, the Brazilian band RockVille will also cover the best of British hits during the event. “The band’s current lineup is approximately two years old,” bassist for RockVille and member of the Paissandú club for almost fifty years, Henrique Bergson told The Rio Times, adding that the band had existed in various formations for over twelve years.

“For those involved with music,” said Bergson. “Nothing compares to the experience of playing for other people. Practice is very good, but what keeps you motivated is the prospect of future shows.”

Before RockVille and The Midnight Hour Band take the stage on Friday night, the young people currently participating in the Art & Social Transformation program will present a short performance. “There will be a large area to dance and enjoy the music as well as a great menu of food and beverages offered by the club at unbeatable prices,” said Whyte. “Everyone is welcome!”

What: Best of British Rock with Midnight Hour Band and RockVille
When: Friday December 5th at 8PM
Where: Paissandu Club, Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco 330, Leblon, Tel: (21) 2512-8858
Entrance: R$50 per person, R$30 per person for Paissandu members, cash only, RSVP Essential: rsvp.bbr@gmail.com

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