With the recent completion of the Atlantic Building in the Plant Riverside District, the 10-year redevelopment project of Savannah’s newest entertainment district is now officially complete. To celebrate, officials are hosting a free three-day extravaganza for the whole family with live music, Cirque Divina performances, informative talks, fireworks, live artist painting demonstrations, fountain shows, food, drink and more, November 18-20. .
“We invite local residents and visitors from across the country to join us at the Plant Riverside District for a fun family celebration focused on three main themes: water, beauty and the natural sciences,” said Richard Kessler, CEO of Kessler. Collection. “This grand opening three-day celebration is our way of giving back to all who have supported our vision for Savannah’s Entertainment District. After 10 years, the project is finally over.
The three-day celebration will begin at noon with the unveiling of the new “That Great Gretsch Sound!” exhibit presented in District Live’s lobby and performance space in the Atlantic Building.
According to Kessler, “That Great Gretsch Sound” was developed through a special partnership between the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music at Georgia Southern University, the Gretsch family and the Kessler Collection. The Dinah Gretsch School of Music was established in early 2021.
“Georgia Southern University received as a gift the Gretsch Instrument Collection, a multi-million dollar collection of fabulous guitars, drums and other historic instruments,” said Kessler. “The university wanted to put the museum in a place where it would be well displayed. President Kyle Marrero approached me about the idea and once I showed him what I had in mind we decided to move forward and everyone got to work. to assemble the collection and the whole design.
Kessler added that each guitar has been specially selected and that visitors will be treated to a visual and educational timeline that will allow them to explore the evolution of Gretsch instruments.
“Between 150 and 170 guitars have been handpicked for display and each guitar has a real story,” he said. “We also have three sound domes that have about five programs that talk about different aspects of the Gretsch experience from the guitars, who played them, the family itself, how long they’ve been in business and how they’ve evolved. over the years. It is a very interesting and educational experience.
The great sound of Gretsch! the exhibition space highlights some of the most popular and unique pieces from Gretsch’s historical catalog. The museum lobby features some of the company’s most iconic instruments, including the White Falcon, Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, a Brian Setzer Signature G6120, and a vintage 1963 Jet Firebird popularized by AC / DC’s Malcolm Young.
In the District Live performance hall, visitors will be treated to a visual timeline that will allow them to explore the evolution of Gretsch instruments dating back to the 1920s. Approximately 100 guitars are on display in the exhibit, 48 of which were recently on display at the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
“This is a prime example of Georgia Southern’s regional public impact mission and aligns with the community goal of recognizing Savannah as a sought-after destination for music and entertainment,” said President of Georgia Southern, Kyle Marrero. “This partnership is just one example of the opportunities offered to us by the association of the name Gretsch with Georgia Southern.”
The Gretsch family have long been involved in music education programs and have lent their name and history to Georgia Southern. The new museum was a fitting way to honor the company’s legacy.
“We are very honored to be a part of the incredible exhibition within our community to showcase the powerful influence and legacy of music. Fred and I represent the fourth generation of the Gretsch family in the musical instrument business and look forward to future generations of family leaders, ”said Dinah Gretsch, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Gretsch Company. “We are confident that this legacy will coincide and align with the present and future vision of Georgia Southern University.”
The university established the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music in early 2021 after the family pledged a generous cash gift along with their Gretsch collection of historic drums, guitars and company records in Georgia Southern. While the music school will now bear the Gretsch name, the company’s influence will be felt across the University’s three campuses and in several academic departments, museums and the library. Georgia Southern will be able to catalog and display Gretsch’s legendary instruments that tell a fascinating tale of musical history, from American jazz to English-born rock, to modern and popular cult groups in Australia.
According to Tyler Gray, director of entertainment and programming, the exhibit is not just visual, it is also interactive.
“There are going to be two different aspects: a QR code that gives you a guide to each guitar as you go through it and a plate with numbers next to each guitar that will also show you which guitar you are going to use,” Gray said. .
Guitars won’t be the only Gretsch instrument on display.
“We also have two imported drums that have been used by famous musicians,” Kessler said. “There are also other musical instruments that they are not particularly known for, but they made … brass, saxophones, trumpets, etc. It is a beautiful presentation, quite an experience, and we are really proud to have him here, we encourage people to come and learn about the different instruments and discover their favorite musicians.
“We hope this new museum will preserve the long history and legacy of the Gretsch family and the Gretsch brand,” said Dinah Gretsch. “It is wonderful to share our history with the city of Savannah, loyal Gretsch fans and all the tourists who will visit the museum.”
The museum’s artifacts were curated and installed by Aaron Phillips, the Georgia Southern Project Curator for the Fred and Dinah Gretsch Artifact Collection. Through his research to prepare the museum, he is convinced that the Gretsch Museum will offer a unique musical experience.
“My goal was to create a space that is expressive, inspiring and true to the roots of the Gretsch family and community,” said Phillips. “I am impressed with how it turned out! “
Southern Georgia Marshal Carl Reiber, Ph.D., said the new museum is another perk of having the Gretsch name associated with the university.
“We have a long-term plan to tell the fascinating story of music history creatively and train students in a wide variety of academic programs to engage in historical collection as it relates to their field of study. ‘studies,’ Reiber said. “The Gretsches name is known the world over and the Gretsches have been great advocates of universal music education for decades. This museum is one of the great opportunities that have come from having the name Gretsch associated with our music school.
The inauguration of “That Great Gretsch Sound! is just the start of the eventful three-day celebration.
“We have a lot of fun activities planned and a lot of good things planned for the kids,” Kessler said.
“There will be a magic show, a family adventure exploring the dinosaurs and geodes hidden in the Plant Riverside district, lots of live music, lectures and many other fun activities spread throughout the day. I encourage everyone to go online and check out all the different activities that we have planned.
The festivities will end on Saturday, November 20 with a live concert by The Legacy Band at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and fireworks over the river. To see the full schedule, visit plantriverside.com or find a link to the schedule at connectsavannah.com