Schools may be closed Monday in observance of President’s Day, but there are still ample opportunities for learning.
Eric Ian Farmer, an educator and musician from State College, will be sharing life lessons via his unique musical skill set at a special performance starting at 2 p.m. at Bucknell University’s Weis Center.
One of the songs he and his trio will be sharing is titled “When you (Side) Walked into the Room.”
“It’s a song about looking for things in life that you can’t find, because they’ve been with you the whole time,” he said. “It’s like looking for your glasses, but they are on top of your head. Or — I’ve done this before — talking with someone on the phone and sharing that I can’t find my phone. The message is that sometimes what we are looking for isn’t out there somewhere — it came with us when we walked into the room.”
Farmer also plans to share songs that reflect on themes such as vulnerability, forgiveness and love.
“Sometimes, even though it is hard to speak to another person, you still need to say it,” he said. “When it comes to love and other big emotions, you need to share and not keep it to yourself.”
Farmer has lived that mantra via his music — a man of color performing for mostly white crowds in central Pennsylvania while sharing his take on various big social issues, he has experienced a few tense moments.
“I was standing outside during a set break at one of my gigs, and a white guy says to me: ‘I think you’re brave to be saying what you are saying on the stage. A fellow around here could get hurt for saying what you are,’” Farmer recalled. “He wasn’t telling me this to threaten me, but to share the reality of the situation.”
Farmer’s love of music started young — when, as a small child, his parents bought him a drum set. He performed in youth choirs at church and progressed as a performer thanks to participation in high school musicals.
“You are up there singing in front of an audience, and you have to use your character to convey some deep emotions,” he said. “There is a lot to learn from that.”
Farmer relishes his abilities as an a cappella performer and is an active songwriter who engages the craft by layering the sounds within his heart with the messages sparked by current events as he strives to inspire those around him.
“Singer-songwriter Eric Ian Farmer has been lifting up audiences for several years and we’re thrilled to welcome him back for a family friendly performance on President’s Day,” said Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. “His concert promises to raise your spirits and rejoice in the community of shared music.”
Born in State College and raised in North Carolina, Farmer has returned to his birthplace sharing his songs about relationships, social awareness and finding one’s path in life while keeping alive classics by artists like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Bob Marley.