Written by Caro Moya
Photographed Lucii Artigas Viramontt
On Saturday, Feb. 11, SCAD’s very first Savannah Songs brought Georgia Day to life in a series of historically based musical performances.
The day started off in Gryphon tea room, formerly the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, with a taste of the Savannah of the 1920s. The scene, a southern engagement party complete with party favors for the audience, was all about celebration. Songs included Ella Fitzgerald’s “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Hard Hearted Hannah.”
Next, the guests headed to Art’s café, where performers in colorful costumes brought SCAD’s early days and the 80s back to life. The audience enjoyed free milkshakes and iconic pop culture songs like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. The actors bid goodbye with a triumphant “Once a bee, always a bee!”
The next destination took everyone even further back in Savannah’s history with a glimpse into 1860. Morris Hall served as the stage for a pre-civil war scene; a historical figure by the name of Annie Smets sang, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” as a tribute to the young men preparing for the fight to come.
Last but not least, the guests were taken to Poetter Hall, SCAD’s first building and originally home to the Savannah Volunteer Guards. A scene from the 1940s took place in the ballroom where a party was in full swing, literally. A live orchestra, the Buzzin’ Bees, entertained the crowd with a wide array of hits and there was no shortage of swing dancing. Songs included “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters, “Chatanooga Choo Choo” and an old-time ballad “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
The event attracted all types of guests, from fellow students to locals to visitors from all over the country. SCAD’s very own president, Paula Wallace, made an appearance as well and she expressed how proud she was of the production. “Usually Georgia Day celebrations are based on 1733, the year of the founding. It’s been 284 years; a lot of history has taken place since then,” she said. “The character of the city has changed so much…with this performance, we get to see a little bit of that.”
As far as the performance itself, it’s been in the works for months. It was an entirely SCAD produced event featuring both current students and alumni. In the words of Paula Wallace, “They’re turning Georgia Day on its head!”