By Laurie Paolicelli
Orange County’s social calendar reflects its culture. On any given night, you’ll find a sporting event, art walk or music celebration, and possibly a philanthropic celebration where the mission centers on a commitment to helping prisoners, addicts, and those in need of hope.
Such is the case with the upcoming concert with Eric Genuis at Chapel Hill’s new American Legion Post 6, a spacious venue with indoor and outdoor amenities designed by architect Richard Gurlitz.
Leaders at the American Legion are featuring a live concert by Genuis because, as American Legion member Lee Heavlin says, “He is known for inspiring hope and we could all use a lift right now.”
Genuis has a considerable fan following.
Stephen McEveety, Executive Producer of Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, The Passion of the Christ, is one of them. “What a refreshing and new approach to music,” he says. “Eric’s creations are moving, but exhilarating, thoughtful, but so enjoyable. You just want to listen to them over and over again.”
Kevin James, comedian and star of CBS’s King of Queens, Hitch, and Paul Blart, Mall Cop is another. “Our entire family has been graced with experiencing first-hand the recordings and concerts of the incredibly gifted Eric Genuis. Words cannot convey the truly captivating, mesmerizing power his compositions have to embrace the soul emotionally, intellectually, purposefully. Each piece he presents showers a person with his personal interest, respect, and love.”
Genuis has made it his life to bring his music to those in need. Through this charity, Eric has performed and provided inspirational talks at thousands of prisons, drug rehabilitation centers, and veteran centers. Genuis is also committed to performing for veterans suffering from PTSD..
A self-taught composer, he brings first-class musicians — lush violins and powerful voices — to a darkened, harsh, inmate world. “There isn’t much beauty in prison,” says Eric.
Most prisoners who attend his concerts have never heard a violin. “I am not musically inclined in many other genres besides hip-hop,” testified an inmate from one of Genuis’ previous concerts, “but listening to them play the classical music with the instruments opened my eyes.” (Genuis would call his music a fusion of classical and modern styles.)
Eric Genuis and his wife have known raw, naked pain. “My wife and I have lost 7 children,” he has told audiences, “5 miscarriages and two infant deaths.” Of their four living children, one deals with Asperger’s and another has Down’s Syndrome.
Chapel Hill’s new American Legion Post 6 invites the public to enjoy Eric Genuis and ensemble Friday, February 11th, from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the new, spacious, American Legion, located at 3700 NC 54 W Chapel Hill, across from Barn at Valhalla. Tickets are $15 each. Additional food tickets will be sold for $10 each and the bar will be open.
Seating is limited. Please come to enjoy great music, inspiring stories of Eric’s visits to the forgotten and under-served. Proceeds will also help support his charity.
Refreshments and light food/snacks are available starting at 5:45 pm when socializing will begin in the Club Room prior to the performance, which will be in the Meeting Room.
About the American Legion
The American Legion is the nation’s largest veteran’s organization and was founded in 1919 with four pillars of service: Veterans care and rehabilitation, youth programs, Americanism, and national security. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through over 12,000 local posts across the nation.
The new American Legion at 3700 NC 54 West in Orange County is one of the newest Posts in the country, with a custom designed 15,600 square foot building on a bucolic 126 acres, complete with pasture land and pond.
About Eric Genuis
Eric Genuis was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada, one of four boys. His parents were immigrants from Malta during the Second World War. Genuis’ musical education includes achieving First Class A.R.C.T. Honors in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has also studied film scoring at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Laurie Paolicelli is the Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.