April 4, 2019
Photos: Shellee Fisher Photography
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Antoinette Savage is a self-taught dollmaker, sculptor, and wearable art artist. She found her first inspiration in making one-of-a-kind dolls from a co-worker who wanted two cloth dolls made for his daughters. Her work is a collection of lives and memories of her ancestors. Since 2007, she has designed and sold dolls and wearable art in many forms, utilizing her skills with recycled fabric and found objects. She has created pieces for private collection, gallery sales, and for the benefit of local and national organizations. Antoinette loves using bright, bold, “Kool-Aid”-colored fabric scraps as the signature palette of her artistic expression. “The fabric scraps represent my ancestors’ ability to take found and discarded material and create objects of beauty and necessity. My work represents the legacy of the women and men of African descent who came before me.”
From the moment Cedric Easton could walk, he was playing the drums. At the age of 4, Easton began playing drums at his local church. This musical platform was readily available to him sense his father was the pastor and mother the church organist. Under the tutelage of his mother and father, Easton’s fundamental musicianship grew rapidly. His passion and interest in music grew at a pace leading his parents to enter him into his first regional music competition. At age 8 Easton was entered into the FOX KIDS television network music competition– where he took home first place. As a child Easton continued his “informal” education of music through church while playing trumpet and trombone in orchestra in grade and middle school.
Easton attended Fort Hayes Performing Arts High School; this is where he truly began his formal study of music. Under the direction of DCI (Drummers Collective Institute) instructor and publisher Dan Thress, Easton’s interest in exploring the language of music became real and apparent to all those around him. While improving the mechanics of musicianship, Easton explored various records that had a profound impact on his perception of music. Exploring various artist and recordings, around age 15, Easton purchased a recording of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. This was a pivotal moment that altered the focus of Easton musical studies. Easton identified a strong desire to play jazz. During the summer, the passion to play jazz lead Easton to attend jazz camps under the direction of premier trumpeter Pharez Whitted. At age 17, Easton successfully auditioned for the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra; which resulted in his first international tour as a professional musician, under the direction of Todd Stoll and Wessel “Warmdaddy” Anderson (Jazz at Lincoln Center).
After graduating high school, against the will of his parents, Easton began performing in local churches, clubs, concert halls, etc. professionally. Easton played gigs anytime he had the opportunity. While Easton had tenure at Ohio Christian University, consistent opportunities to play gigs continued to pull him away from his collegiate intention. Easton began playing for national gospel recording artist such as Dorinda Clark – Cole, Detrick Haddon and Marvin Sapp and jazz artist such as Bobby Floyd, Kenny Banks Sr. and Aaron Deihl, etc. Currently, Easton performs with national and international artist such as Roy Ayers, Richard Galliano.
In 2009 Easton received the request to serve as the drummer for national recording jazz violinist Christian Howes, which he gladly accepted. To date Easton notes that this band served as his, “first big gig”. Easton admits to have learned a fair bit about the music business, touring, branding, etc under the mentorship of Howes. His role in the band has awarded Easotn the opportunity to tour internationally, receive honorable mention in Jazz Times (2012), perform at Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York for six nights (2013) and so much more.
In addition to performing as a side man, Easton recently won The Guitar Center Drum Off (2013) for the state of Ohio, Featured for Triple Croxx Entertainments, Artist Signature Series, (2014) and tour Montenegro and Italy as a U.S. Ambassador (2015). Easton recently formed his jazz band called, “Circle of Friends”. Circle of Friends is a “grass roots” musical experience packed with a wide variety of American music influences. While cornerstones of Circle of Friends sound are hard staked to the gospel and jazz idiom, Circle of Friends stops at no limit to explore the nuances of various American music styles. Circle of Friends, under the direction of Cedric Easton has completed their first single entitled “Inspire Me” in 2015. “Inspire Me” was selected as the theme song for the Peggy McConnell Art Center educational and outreach programs.
Currently living in Columbus Ohio, Easton serves as the Fine Arts Director for New Covenant Believers’ Church and serves as a faculty member of the Jazz Academy.
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