"Richelle Claiborne’s 'Black Music Excellence Through the Ages' commemorated McLean Community Center’s 2023 Martin Luther King celebration, and it did not disappoint. Richelle is so engaging that you feel like she’s a dear friend about two songs into the show. Her musical journey through her life was relatable to audiences of all ages, races and backgrounds, and the music was killer. I can’t tell you how many people raved about the concert! Our community is pretty buttoned up, and Richelle had them singing and dancing along. She made us look good!" ~ Sarah N. Schallern Treff, Director

Audience responses to the survey question “What was the highlight of the performance?” 

“Richelle Claiborne, her vocal accompaniment (a relative) and her band were phenomenal and off the chain and very lively. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Richelle has a very impressionable demeanor, gorgeous vocals, very witty and engaging. She made you feel very comfortable and welcoming in telling her life experiences and how music had a major impact on her life journey. I absolutely loved the performance and look forward to seeing Richelle Claiborne again at the MCC. Thank you for such a marvelous program, MCC!” 

“Everything. It was the best performance I’ve ever seen.” 

“Her connection with the audience. Also her enthusiasm for performing and drawing in her band members.” 

“Everyone in our group, four family members, enjoyed the performance immensely.”




Charlottesville native Richelle Claiborne is bringing her musical journey through the history of black music, Black Music Excellence Through the Ages, to venues around the country.  Black Music Excellence is a joyous ride through the history of African-American music across the diaspora. It’s more than a soul revue, more than a gospel concert, more than a night of great jazz…it is one part history lesson, one part testimonial and filled with inspired musical performances.  Claiborne tells you her story through music with her soul-stirring vocals, a witty script, and accompanied by some of the best musicians from the Charlottesville area.  Claiborne debuted Black Music Excellence in 2019 to a sold out crowd.  Joining Claiborne on stage are Ti Ames (vocals), Ivan Orr (keyboard), Tucker Rogers (guitar), Bud Bryant (bass) and Rob Hubbard (drums). 

Claiborne’s reflections on life in Charlottesville go beyond tiki torches and statues.  She tells a powerful story that includes a Charlottesville not mentioned on the news or social media.  This musical account of her life, rooted in a place known historically and recently for violence and division, branches out and addresses relationships, loss, responsibility, transformation, and most of all, love.  Claiborne inspires the audience to stretch beyond what they might assume about a woman of color from a place known for hatred and shares herself openly, honestly and unapologetically. 

RICHELLE CLAIBORNE is a Charlottesville native that has performed up and down the East Coast singing everything from jazz to metal to her own blend of original tunes and spoken word poetry aptly named "The Richelle Show”. Her musical styling is an eclectic mix of genres and attitudes, and her soulful voice will move you. Claiborne is not only a singer, but an actress and a poet who has written 2 albums, several chapbooks, a one-woman show, and has made music with countless other gifted musicians for the past 25 years.

“Showcasing Richelle Claiborne’s strengths as a storyteller and a vocalist, Black Music Excellence truly lives up to its name. Richelle Claiborne expertly weaves personal stories with well-researched and significant tales of some of America’s most beloved black musicians, from Nina to Stevie and beyond. Richelle is a powerhouse singer and orator, plus she’s hilarious, as quick to move you to tears as she is to have you crying laughing. With an incredible backing band and epic song choices, Black Music Excellence is not to be missed.”  

—Emily Morrison, Director of The Front Porch, Charlottesville, VA

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