John Davis Plays Blind Tom: Music of Thomas Wiggins February 22


Posted on February 17, 2015 by Keith Bohnet Keith Bohnet


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John Davis plays Blind Tom

Born into slavery, blind and autistic, Thomas Wiggins exhibited a remarkable memory, a gift for mimicry, and a passion for sound that made him a phenomenally successful performer and composer. Steinway Artist John Davis has played a major role in the revival of interest in Blind Tom with a CD of his music and a multimedia concert exploring his life and art: "Will the Real Thomas Wiggins Please Stand Up," which he brings to Mobile as an event that is a part of the Southern Literary Trail Trailfest 2015.

John Davis' performance will take place in the Laidlaw Recital Hall on Sunday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m. Presented in association with Mobile Arts Council, admission to this Department of Music event is free and open to the public. Because of limited space, it is recommended that attendees arrive early! Persons needing more information about this event or in need of special accommodation may call 251-460-7116 or 251-460-6136.

About Thomas Wiggins, John Davis and the performance

Born into slavery, blind and autistic, Thomas Wiggins exhibited a remarkable memory, a gift for mimicry, and a passion for sound that made him a phenomenally successful performer and composer. The first African-American to perform officially at the White House, he toured widely, playing for packed houses across Europe and America, and earning a fortune (the equivalent of more than five million dollars today).  But even after Emancipation, Tom’s enslavement continued, as his white master became his “manager.” In its review of Deirdre O’Connell’s book about Wiggins, the Los Angeles Times noted that Tom’s is a “story with bottomless complexity, touching on race and sanity and slavery and art. But ultimately his life makes us think about what it means to be human.”

Steinway Artist John Davis has played a major role in the revival of interest in Blind Tom with a CD of his music and a multimedia concert exploring his life and art: "Will the Real Thomas Wiggins Please Stand Up," which he brings to Mobile and to Tuscaloosa, Tuskegee and Demopolis.

In Mobile, this performance is presented in memory of Albert Murray, a Mobile native and Southern Literary Trail author, whose books include "Stomping the Blues" and other essays on the history and influence of African-American music.

The public is invited to meet John Davis at Broussard’s Piano Gallery and Academy of Music (1541 E. Interstate 65, Service Rd. S.) the day before his USA program (Saturday, February 21 at 5 PM). For information, call the Gallery (251-344-8856) or Mobile Arts Council (251-432-9796).

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Need directions to Laidlaw? Just go to Google Maps at www.maps.google.com and enter "USA Laidlaw Performing Arts Center." We're actually on the corner of University Blvd. and USA Drive South.

Musical Arts Series Season Pass Holders may now reserve their place at concerts if they contact events coordinator Keith Bohnet by 5:00 p.m. the day previous to the event! Call 251-460-7116 or email kbohnet@southalabama.edu. Please mention the amount of seats needed AND be sure you are planning on being in place at least 20 minutes in advance of the concert! (Pass Holders only please! Held seats not claimed within 20 minutes of the performance may be offered to other concert attendees.)

For information on how to join the Musical Arts Society, visit our website at www.southalabama.edu/music and click on "events and programs" to see everything you need to know about the Musical Arts Concert Series and USA's Musical Arts Society.


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