Geva Theatre Center Awarded Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation Grant
Geva Theatre Center has been selected as the recipient of a prestigious grant from The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation to create a multimedia celebration of the life and work of legendary blues musician Son House.
The 18-month project, entitled "A Journey to the Son," will bring together musicians, writers, artists and the area's regional theatre company to celebrate one of Rochester's own, Eddie "Son" House. The project will culminate in a four-day celebration weaving together stories, music, theatre, film, audio recordings, storytelling and lectures.
Eddie "Son" House was born in 1902 in the Mississippi River Delta and, as the son of a preacher, was raised to believe that secular music was the work of the devil. In 1927, he was introduced to the slide guitar and was so captivated by this new style that he bought a used guitar and developed his own blues style, a rhythmic drive with emotionally powerful vocals reminiscent of the field hollers of chain gangs. He and his playing partners in Mississippi were recorded for the Library of Congress. In 1943 he abandoned the music scene and moved to Rochester to find work. In 1964, a trio of record collectors began a cross country search and found Son living in relative obscurity with no guitar in the Corn Hill neighborhood of Rochester. With their encouragement, Son picked up a guitar again and began to relearn his unique style of music. This re-launched Son's career as an internationally recognized folk blues artist, performing around the world and recording several albums for Columbia Records. He was a Rochester presence, often playing at local venues and jamming with young musicians. His style influenced an entire generation of musicians including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elvis Presley, John Hammond, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger among others.
Geva joins the Rochester Oratorio Society, Baobab Cultural Center, Garth Fagan Dance and Friends of Ganondagan as recipients of this prestigious grant which the Farash Foundation has called "cultural creative collision."