Courtesy of the Island Sun
BIG Arts is bringing a fantastic new show depicting the life and music of one of America’s most iconic and talented performers, the Legendary Sam Cooke. Alongside a live big band Bradd Marquis utilizes his soulful tenor to captivate and inspire audiences. He has graced sold out stages all over the country, performing his signature classic tribute to Cooke. He will be here Friday, February 26, performing in Christensen Hall at BIG ARTS. There are still good seats for his 4 p,m. performance, so call now to reserve your seats. Call 239-395-0900.
I asked Bradd to give us an idea of what his performance will include. He said, “ My show takes you back to a time where society was struggling with racism and social unrest. We give you a peak through the eyes of a young gospel singer who initially only had aspirations of becoming a commercially accepted pop star but evolved into an unparalleled entrepreneur, social activist, and the voice of the civil rights movement. We take you on this journey using Sam’s own music to mark the times and the maturation of his inspirations social consciousness, and historical contributions to the world.”
I asked when he decided to pay homage to Sam Cooke and he said, “The seed was planted in 2008 by a producer I was working with. He said I looked like him and after reading Sam’s autobiography I immersed myself in everything Sam Cooke for several months and emerged with a tribute to “The King of Soul.” My grandparents used to play Sam and the Soulstirrers throughout my whole childhood, I just didn’t know who I was listening to. They have since passed away but this show is a way for me to honor their memory as much as his. As I’ve matured my understanding of the man, his music, and his legacy has as well and so has the show.”
As to why Sam’s singing earned him the title The King of Soul, Bradd said, “Sam Cooke and Ray Charles were the pioneers of Soul Music. They took traditional gospel songs and rewrote them into pop mainstream songs. What made these songs Soul was in the passion and conviction they are sung with, the same passion you hear in the black church when musicians are singing their praises to the Almighty. Sam mentored many of the greats such as Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Taylor and Bobby Womack and he was the first and only artist at that time to own his own record label. He set the blueprint for Motown and every artist that followed.”
When asked if he ever feels Sam’s presence he said “I have definitely felt the spirit enter the room in a few of my shows. I’m not sure if it was Sam, my Grandparents or God himself, but there have been a few times where I had to get out of the way and just be a conduit for the moment.”
BIG ARTS is practicing the highest standards of safety during this challenging time. All visitors are required to wear masks, and we ask that you are mindful of social distancing. With physical distancing precautions in mind. BIG ARTS is selling only 50% of the seats in Christensen Performance Hall. Until further notice only 200 seats will be available for any event in the Hall. BIG ARTS has enhanced its air filtration system, all surfaces are wiped down between use, a professional sanitation g is being used after each gathering, and there are hand sanitation stations throughout the ground floor.
BIG ARTS is located at 900 Dunlop Road on Sanibel. For more information visit www.bigarts.org
ABOUT BIG ARTS
BIG ARTS, established in 1979, is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing quality artistic, cultural and educational experiences to Sanibel and Captiva residents and visitors. Visit www.BIGARTS.org to learn more about our 2021 Season, and don’t forget to visit us on Facebook!
BIG ARTS is practicing the highest standards of safety during this challenging time. All visitors are required to wear masks throughout the facility. Please be sure to put on your mask before entering the building. We ask that you are mindful of physical distancing. With physical distancing precautions in mind, BIG ARTS is selling only 50% of the seats in Christensen Performance Hall. Until further notice, only 200 seats will be available for any event in the Hall, and a maximum of 25 people will be allowed in the gallery at any given time. BIG ARTS has enhanced its air filtration system, all surfaces are wiped down between use, a professional sanitation fogger is being used after each gathering, and there are hand sanitation “stations” throughout the ground floor.
by Di Saggau