Georgia native, Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) was perhaps best known for his poems "The Marshes of Glynn" and "Song of the Chattahoochee," but Lanier was also a renowned musician, as he was principal flutist in the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore for seven seasons and composed melodies and virtuosic flute solos based on his own improvisational skills! And in 1876, Lanier received a federal commission to write the libretto for a Cantata for the Centennial celebration of the United States in Philadelphia.
Actor/historian, Marty Willett and flutist, Candace Keach traveled back in time Friday evening to honor Sidney’s February 3rd, 1842 birthday with a dramatic narrative of his life interspersed with his poetry and flute solos. The stage at Oglethorpe University Lupton Hall was intimately set as a sitting room from the 19th century with the new plaster-cast bust of Sidney Lanier proudly placed center stage. Marty and Candace set the mood in their period dress and took turns lovingly bringing his works of art to life, both his poetry and his flute music. A beautiful celebration - Happy Birthday Sidney!
sponsored by the Atlanta Preservation Center at Lupton Hall, Oglethorpe University
Coinciding with Lanier’s 170th birthday, Candace Keach and Marty Willet presented a recital of the music and poetry of Sidney Lanier..
Candace Keach, flutist, originally from Athens, Georgia has been principal flutist with the Macon Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years. She was principal flutist with the National Touring Company’s “Phantom of the Opera” at the Fox. Candace is flute professor at Spelman College. Her own studies were at the University of Georgia and at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Candace is creative director of the Spiral of Sound Crystal Bowl Choir, a performance-art ensemble which has carved a unique niche in the world of meditation music. Candace is in great demand as a motivational presenter, leading workshops and presenting concerts which introduce the archetypal and historical elements of sound and music! In 2010 she was awarded placement on the Georgia Arts Council Touring Artist Roster and the Southern Artistry Registry. Candace has always had a particular affinity for the music of Sidney Lanier as she shares his birthday month! She has performed his music both on stage at the Macon/Mercer Opera House and at the Sidney Lanier Cottage in Macon, Georgia, and at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
Richard Martin “Marty” Willett is a South Georgia son whose hometown is the City of Roses, Thomasville. He began working for the Georgia Historical Commission in 1972. He was responsible for the highly acclaimed “Sidney’s Old South Historic Tours” which shared Macon’s multicultural heritage with over 100,000 visitors between 1984 and 1994 for the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau. He served six years as President of the Ocmulgee National Monument Association, a private citizen support group for the prehistoric Indian mound site. Since 1990, he has served on the Macon Mayor’s Fort Hawkins Commission, whose goal is to recreate the early American frontier fort as a living history site, and he was elected Commission Chairman in 2005. As an actor/educator he is best known for his portrayal of the 19th century Macon native and beloved southern poet and musician, Sidney Lanier. Since 1980, he has shared Lanier’s life and works throughout the Southeast in a dramatic, first person, costumed performance. He created and conducted the popular ghost tours of Macon, “Sidney’s Spirit Stroll” and “Sidney’s Hometown Haunts.” He had been the Lead Interpreter at the Sidney Lanier Cottage for the Historic Macon Foundation for eight years before becoming the Fort Hawkins Press Officer & Project Coordinator in 2011. Making history real and personal has been his life’s mission.