‘I forgot what hope felt like’: Musician performs concerts for inmates

SADDLE RIVER, N.J. -- It was called an evening of giving back.

Composer Eric Genuis says he usually plays for the forgotten, but tonight he is playing in a gorgeous Saddle River mansion to raise money and awareness for the newly formed Saddle River Arts Council.

This past Thursday, Eric played for inmates at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. It was the first concert there in 30 years.

“The first time I played in a prison, an inmate threw his arms around me and said ‘I forgot what hope felt like,'” Genuis told PIX11 News. “At the New Jersey State Prison, we got five or six standing ovations."

The Saddle River Arts Council is less than a month old and at this inaugural concert, where tickets are $75 per person, they are raising money for Eric Genuis’s Concerts for Hope Foundation.

“We want to bring music to those who are marginalized,” Maria Harper, president of the Saddle River Arts Council, told PIX11 News.

Eric Genuis has played in more than 45 prisons in the United States in the last two years. And now with the help of the Saddle River Arts Council he hopes to bring his music to VA hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers As well as prisons.

“If you can’t go to Carnegie Hall, I will bring Carnegie Hall to you,” Genuis told inmates at a recent prison visit.

Funds from this concert will also support music Education at PS 20 in Paterson by purchasing much needed keyboards and guitars.

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