New Youth Musical Explores History and Culture of Rhythms

The Evolution of Rhythms
Youth Musical Explores the History of Beats
Saturday, Oct. 27th in Pittsfield, MA

Most kids today enjoy popular music of some sort – especially hip-hop!  But where does the style (and the unique name) come from?  Pittsfield’s Youth Alive presents, The Evolution of Rhythms, an original musical that explores the history and cultural context and significance of beats on Saturday evening, October 27th in Berkshire County. The show features local youth performers (as well as some special guests) and pulls the audience through changes in musical styles and genres from the late 19th century until today.

Students may be surprised to learn that even though modern hip-hop is perceived as the music of younger generations, its roots actually lie in the clapping and stomping dances done to djembe, a traditional Malawean drum brought to the United States during the 1800’s slave trade – it has been around for quite a while!

Rhythm and beats remain central to the storyline of The Evolution of Rhythms as the show moves forward through time, and each scene features exciting original performances of drum, step, dance, song, and spoken word.  Students can use the show to supplement (or begin) studies of music and/or art history – it will provide them with a unique look at the cultural context within which traditions are created, changed, and passed on.  The show is written, directed, and narrated by Pittsfield native and former Youth Alive member Jerome Edgerton, Jr.  and will be performed at the Barrington Stage Company’s mainstage (58 Union Street, Pittsfield) at 7pm on Saturday, October 27th.

Edgerton says a key reason for creating this play has to do with the youth’s ignorance of historically forms of music on 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.”

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/adults, $5/seniors & students, and free for kids under 12 years old. To order tickets, call the  Barrington Stage Company box office at 413-236-8888. Ticket will also be available at the door the night of the show.

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