Reimagining Live Music - Desiree Roots and Saxsmo Gates

  • 22 Dec 2020
  • 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM


  • General registration is available to encorepreneurs who are interested in being an active part of our community. If you would like to attend, just continue with registration. Click on the link above to join our mailing list.
  • Our Supporting Encorepreneurs have 2 reserved spots for each meeting. They can register themselves and 1 guest at any time up until 4pm the day before the event.

Registration is closed

Tuesday, December 22   -  8:00 AM on ZOOM

With Special Appearances by:
Desiree Roots & James "Saxsmo" Gates

COVID-19 has hit few parts of our community harder than Richmond’s music scene. Without a means to perform live, musicians are without work and they are distanced from their fans and supporters. At a very special December Encorepreneur breakfast, Carlos Chafin, the CEO of In Your Ear Studios  will be our speaker and emcee for a special program that will also feature live music by two very talented Richmond performers.

Carlos will give us a behind the scenes look at how an existing model for live music performances was reimagined as "Shockoe Sessions Live", a venue with the mission of providing a way for everyone in the local community to enjoy - and support - live RVA music.

He will also welcome two of Richmond’s most talented musical entertainers, Desiree Roots and James "Saxsmo" Gates, to the In Your Ear Studios to perform a medley of some of your favorite holiday songs live from In Your Ear on ZOOM.  


Carlos founded In Your Ear in 1991 with the late musician Robbin Thompson. He started his career at age 16 as a piano player for a local studio and grew into roles as a composer, studio chief, entrepreneur, CEO, and professor. He has worked with artists including the Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and many others. His compositions include three scores for Superbowl Commercials and hundreds of themes and scores for national ad clients including Coke, McDonalds, Walmart, GEICO, and Sesame Street.  

Today, Carlos is an active community connector and an educator, finding ways to use music to create new relationships and opportunities in his community. H worked with VCU to launch the VCU Advanced Media Production and Technology (AMPT) program and teaches classes in recording and production for the VCU Department of Music. He also founded “Shockoe Sessions,” a concert series bringing together talented local and regional musicians with Richmond's business, political, technical, and creative communities at “musical mixers" each week.


Desiree Roots has been one of this region’s favorite performers for over 30 years with her “triple-threat” talent of acting, singing and dancing. She has appeared in over 30 stage productions and continues to showcase her talent in theatres throughout the Commonwealth and the region. In 2017 Desiree wrote a tribute to Virginia’s Ella Fitzgerald in honor of the 100th anniversary of the legend’s birth. The multi-media production, “Ella at 100”, featured Desiree in the starring role with a 3-member cast and a 14-piece orchestra. The production has proven so popular that it has evolved as “Forever Ella” and is still being performed throughout the area. 


James “Saxsmo” Gates is one of Richmond’s premier musicians. He has a passion for the music and the saxophone that is evident in every note he plays. Saxsmo has performed with such notable artists as Dizzy Gillespie,  The Temptations, Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye, and many others. He is a Richmond native and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and studied music at Virginia State University and the prestigious Berklee College of Music. He received his Masters of Jazz Studies degree at North Carolina Central University (Magna Cum Laude), where he worked closely with Branford Marsalis and Dr. Ira Wiggins. 


In Your Ear is situated in Shockoe Bottom, Richmond's vibrant production district. The modern, high tech studio is housed in an 18,000 square foot facility built in 1999 that was is situated behind the facades of four antebellum row houses to maintain the character of the neighborhood.

Founded by Carlos Chafin and the late Robbin Thompson in 1990, the business has grown steadily in size, scope of business and reputation. Chris Brown’s 2012 Grammy for Best R&B album was recorded there, and the studio provides dialog production services on movies like "The Help", "Gladiator" and television shows including "The Family Guy”, and "Person of Interest". Thousands of television and radio spots have been scored, recorded and mixed for companies such as Coke, Geico, Kraft Foods, McDonalds and others. 

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