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"Garage Sessions" Hit the Internet

There’s a good chance you’ve never attended a concert at the Garage in Charlottesville, in part because it’s literally a one-car garage and easy to overlook. But now you can experience a bit of the Garage’s magic online, via a website that features its bands performing in iconic locations around town. The videos are eye-catching and creative, and the producers behind them may surprise you. Emily Richardson-Lorente has that story.

Forrest & ZaynahPando spend a lot of time shooting and editing wedding videos.

[Pandos editing]
FORREST: I want to find a moment where she, like, looks at him and smiles.
FORREST: There we go.
ZAYNAH: Aww, cute!

It’s their job, and they’re great at it. But their passion – music videos. They discovered that on the day they heard this lovely voice wafting in through the open window of their production office.

[Rebekah Todd singing]

FORREST: Looked out the window and it was this guy and a girl. She was playing guitar, he was playing upright bass.

ZAYNAH: They sounded awesome and we were like we should definitely film them right now instead of sitting here editing.

So the husband-and-wife wedding video team took a chance. They headed downstairs, sheepishly asked for permission to film, shot a few takes of the song, and then found out that the musicians — Rebekah Todd and Will Seymour — would be playing at the Garage that night.

ZAYNAH: When they said the Garage, both of us were like "is that a real place?" because we had never heard of it.

They'd never heard of it, even though they lived a tenth of a mile away from it. That probably wouldn't have surprised Sam Bush, who books the concerts at the Garage.

SAM BUSH: The Garage is doing something that’s really special, but how do you share that with someone who hasn’t been to one of these shows?  And then, out of nowhere, Forrest and Zaynah Pando come along.

[Rebekah Todd singing]

Sam saw the Pandos’ first video, called them, and asked if they’d be interested in filming more bands coming through the Garage. The catch? He couldn’t really pay them.

FORREST: And we all kind of giggled, and, and then …

And then they said yes.

ZAYNAH: It was something that Forrest and I had already wanted to do - these kind of live, takeaway music videos. And then on top of it, Sam had the access to the bands.

That was 18 months ago.

[Sound of Video Shoot]
ZAYNAH: You ready, Forrest?
(singing starts)

Since then, Sam and the Pandos have been shooting two or three video sessions a month. Today, they’re filming a Florida band called “This Frontier Needs Heroes.”


Once it’s edited, this video will join 25 others on a website called GarageVideoSessions.com. Sam LOVES it.

SAM BUSH: I mean it’s amazing, I think Forrest and Zaynah could be charging thousands of dollars for these videos, I mean it’s really good content and they’re doing it for free and I feel like I’m getting away with murder (laughing).

[Clip of Holy Ghost Tent Revival]

Most of the videos they’ve shot feature acoustic bands, often performing in iconic locations around Charlottesville, like the Blue Moon Diner or the Christ Church bell tower. Some videos, like the one featuring North Carolina’s Holy Ghost Tent Revival (performing on the pedestrian mall) are foot-stomping, head-bopping pleasures …

[Clip of Holy Ghost Tent Revival]

….other Garage Video Sessions are lovely and lyrical like the one that features singer/songwriter Devon Sproule singing in a canoe on a lake.

[Clip of Devon Sproule]

Some of the Garage Video Sessions are approaching 20,000 views online now, and a couple have even received some national press attention on the websites of Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. The Pandos are, of course, delighted by that attention, but what really drives them is something else entirely: creative freedom.

FORREST: And I don’t think that’s something that would have come if we were getting paid per video. It’s lead to it really becoming something that we're proud of.

ZAYNAH: I think that we could have only dreamed of that when we first started, so …

FORREST: But if you wind it all backwards, all of this is because when we were editing and got a little bored, we walked downstairs and started to film, so it has kind of led to where we are now, which is pretty cool.


[Nat of Video Shoot]

ZAYNAH: (song ends) Good job you guys, that was great!