First-Ever Pasaquan Opera Brings St. EOM’s Journey to Life

On Oct. 14, Pasaquan will host its first opera, “Eddie’s Stone Song: Odyssey of the First Pasaquoyan.” The opera brings together the visual, musical and theatrical arts to portray the life of Eddie Owens Martin, also known as the self-annointed “Saint EOM” and Pasaquan’s founder.

Composed by James Ogburn, a resident artist at Pasaquan, the opera explores the self-taught artist’s journey from his upbringing as a sharecropper’s son to his life in New York to his return to Georgia to create Pasaquan.

“I hope the audience takes away a sense of wonder, excitement and freedom of creativity that was Eddie’s life and what he became as Saint EOM,” Ogburn said.

Ogburn spent several hours a week at Pasaquan while writing the opera. Without a traditional stage and orchestra pit, he had to overcome logistical barriers in determining where to place the audience, vocalist and orchestra. He ultimately decided to stage the vocalist in a sandpit that Martin used to dance and speak with guests. A unique one act, one vocalist format also helps accommodate the rare on-site performance, while drawing inspiration from the post-modern era of art from which folk artists like Martin arose.

Ogburn says that he worked to create something that Martin might enjoy himself, speaking with people who knew the artist and reading the book, “St. Eom in the Land of Pasaquan,” which contains interview transcripts between Martin and Tom Patterson.

“This is Eddie’s home, and I wouldn’t want to dishonor him in anyway,” said Ogburn. “After talking to people who knew him, the general consensus is that he would have been thrilled to have an opera here.”

The premiere performance will feature Michelle Murphy DeBruyn, soprano, playing the roles of all characters in the story. The accompanying ensemble will be the Schwob Contemporary Music Ensemble, under the direction of Paul Hostetter. Carey Scott Wilkerson wrote the libretto, and Dr. Becky Becker will serve as stage director.

“Eddie’s Stone Song: Oddyssey of the First Pasaquoyan” will debut Oct. 14 at Pasaquan, located at 238 Eddie Martin Road, Buena Vista, GA. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, and student tickets are $5. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Proceeds support Pasaquan. In the event of rain, the opera will be moved to Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Please click here to purchase tickets.