The Beats Have Roots
Pittsfield, MA – For one night only, take a musical journey through the history of beats via The Evolution of Rhythms, an original musical by Pittsfield musician and educator Jerome Edgerton, Jr. This world premiere performance takes place on Saturday, October 27, at Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd and Quinson Mainstage at 7pm.
Youth Alive, along with other Berkshire County youth participants and special guest performers, portray changes in musical genres from the late 19th century through the present, in a performance that is written, directed and narrated by Edgerton. Enjoy educational entertainment in the form of drum, step, dance, song and spoken word performances through the settings and characters that have made music powerful, profound and popular for well over the last 100 years.
Jerome Edgerton says a key reason for creating this play has to do with the youth’s ignorance of the historic roots of the music used in today’s most popular forms. “The youth today don’t really understand the culture and where the term hip-hop came from. So, the Evolution of Rhythms gives a history of how hip-hop has its influence on society today. It started with people clapping their hands and stomping their feet to the drums and djembe.”
Beginning with communicative forms of dance and step utilized by African slaves in the late 1800s, The Evolution of Rhythms explores the progression that beats and rhythms have made throughout modern culture. With the use of instrumentation and costuming, this show takes audiences on an informative and interactive tour through music’s past and present, spanning beyond the fundamental structures of rock & roll and into improvisational techniques of jazz, blues and hip-hop music.
Edgerton, 25, is a Pittsfield resident who has been involved with youth activism for many years. A member of Youth Alive since its founding 18 years ago, Edgerton began as a junior stepper and drummer before earning his current position as coach. Edgerton was a youth development councilor at Hillcrest Educational Center for three and a half years and now works in the same position at Eagleton School in Great Barrington, Mass.
He is the recipient of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s inaugural Tupelo Award, given to an individual who displays an abiding passion or serious interest in the study, travel, research and development of a specific project that broadens his/her view of the world and expands his/her horizons. The Tupelo Award helped fund Edgerton’s research and development of The Evolution of Rhythms.
The Evolution of Rhythms is also sponsored by the City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, Youth Alive, Berkshire United Way’s Pittsfield Prevention Partnership, and the Pittsfield Cultural Council. The Pittsfield Prevention Partnership will present their quarterly SAY It Proud Awards at the performance, recognizing young people who are involved in positive activities and making healthy choices.
Tickets to the Evolution of Rhythms are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for children under 12 years old. To order tickets, call the Barrington Stage Company box office at 413-236-8888. They will also be available at the door.