By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The Granada Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting a special fundraiser on Saturday — one which includes the great-grandson of the man who built the historic Granada Theater.
"Get Down Bella," a St. Louis-based band, will be performing during the fundraiser, and one of its members is Leon Williams, whose great-grandfather, Homer Marvel, was the manager of the theater at the time it was built.
"It will be an interesting, historic moment," said Granada Board President Barbara D'Arcy. "We are really excited that they will help us out and they have that family history."
Seventy-five years ago, Homer Marvel was responsible for the building of the Granada, which was then known as the "Crown Jewel of Southern Illinois."
Get Down Bella plays a variety of music for all ages, according to D'Arcy. The band members are Williams, who plays guitar and does vocals, Ryan Eastabrook and Carson Mann on lead guitar, Mike Sivcovich on bass, Mike Schurk and Bill Walters on drums, Christopher Wilson and Justin Straight occasionally on the saxophone and Eric Barfield on keyboards.
According to information on the band, the group does "fun covers that cross every genre and timeline. We like to take songs old and new and put a little of our own sauce on them. The recipe may change from time to time, but the flavor remains the same, always fun and funky."
According to Linda Williams, Leon Williams' mother and Marvel's granddaughter, her son is looking forward to the trip home.
"This will be the first time he has performed on this stage," Linda Williams said. "It's been a long time since he was back here. I'm excited, he's excited.
Williams, who lives in Mt. Vernon, also serves on the Granada Board. "It means a lot to me to know we are doing things to bring it back and keep that beautiful building here for Mt. Vernon."
Leon Williams attended school in Mt. Vernon and Woodlawn, his mother said.
"He has a lot of friends, people he knows and hopes they come out and say hey to him," Williams said.
D'Arcy explained all box office proceeds from the concert will go towards the restoration and renovation project at the Granada Center for the Performing Arts. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $10.