By Rebecca Kroll, AGPA, CRM office
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
Eric Genuis, acclaimed composer, graced Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility with Concerts of Hope, an empowering series of performances. Nearly 400 RJD inmates experienced the powerful music, stories and humor. The power behind his message was enough to bring several front row participants to tears, while also keeping others heavily amused by his empathetic anecdotes.
Genuis was born in Toronto, Ontario, and graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music with a degree in piano performance. He has chosen to share his love of music and life with underserved populations across the country. When he is not composing, you will find him performing his work in prisons, nursing homes, urban school systems, homeless shelters, veterans’ homes and other institutions where hope can be scarce.
“Music is a language with the profound ability to stir the heart, inspire the mind, and enliven the soul. It is my sincere desire that my music will awaken hope, uplift the emotions, renew the spirt, and resonate within the heart of our shared human experience,” he says.
The performance began with a piece titled “Rebellion.” The audience was silent, almost as though time had stopped. Inmates, staff and volunteers sat together in awe as the mighty sounds of instruments took over the gym. Accompanying Genuis in his journey to RJD were violinist Yu-Ting Wu, cellist Alex Winter, vocalist Judith Gibson and a supporting technical crew. His team performed several pieces, all of which helped tell the story of his journey through life.
“This experience truly reached its pinnacle on the second night on C Facility as (he) began to play ‘Redemption.’ The peace that spread over the sea of blue was palpable. My soul breathed in the melody and in that moment I realized redemption was possible for even the seemingly lost,” said Lance Eshelman, Community Resources Manager.
Genuis and his team of musicians have been invited back to perform for even more individuals this summer.
Learn more about the composer at https://www.ericgenuis.com/. (May not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)