8th Step Artistic Director brings undeniable richness to community

Eddies Music Hall of Fame honors music and social justice work champion Margie Rosenkranz

SCHENECTADY—It’s undeniable that when people come together truly great things can happen. And it’s fair to say that music and politics together make for a powerful message. Margie Rosenkranz understands the importance of this more than most.

Rosenkranz serves as the executive artistic director of the volunteer-run Eighth Step Coffee House, renowned nationally for its presentation of top contemporary singer-songwriters and social justice work.

“We’re there because we love the music and because we understand the value of community. And the longer I’m there, the more I understand that the answer to a lot of the ills of this culture is to create small communities that are cohesive, that are open. And it’s a challenge,” she said.

She will be inducted into the Eddies Music Hall of Fame as part of the sixth class March 25 at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs. For tickets, visit atuph.org.

Rosenkranz, an accomplished vocalist, also served as artistic director of the Great Hudson Revival, a long-standing music and environmental summer festival. The Great Hudson Revival did remarkable work bringing awareness to environment pollution.

Music has always a big part of Rosenkranz’ life. Her grandfather would sing folk songs to his six grandchildren and her father would always be singing in their station wagon.

“My grandfather used to play his Martin guitar around a fireplace at the farm where they lived when I was a kid, which is right out around Ballston Lake…. And every time we got in our car, my father started singing and we all sang along with him. It was just one long run-on song session with my dad. He didn’t do anything professional, but he loved music and my mother loved to sing,” she reminisced.

It was during the ’80s while Rosenkranz was in college that she stumbled upon “The Step.” With a big idea-that Eighth Step needed to better publicize its events-Rosenkranz set out on a journey of a lifetime. She has served as director of the organization since 1987.

“The Eighth Step was a project of a coalition of four neighborhood churches, and they had shows every night. They ran all the time. They’d have movie night, and they’d have, it was like a community center, and it was against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Civil rights era and a lot of unrest.”

Founded in 1967, Eighth Step left Albany in 2000 and accepted a residency at Proctors in 2007. Among many accolades, Eighth Step became producer of record for Tom Paxton, Patty Larkin, Greg Brown, Pete Seeger, Dar Williams and many more.

“I think one thing that we’re known for among artists is those of them who are not afraid to be more openly political. As long as the music is great, feel a certain freedom on our stages, and I think they feel well cared for because I ask a lot,” Rosenkranz said.

The Hall of Fame ceremony is open to the public and includes musical performances, a social hour, videos on the musical career of each inductee and acceptance speeches. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at Proctors in-person, via phone at (518) 346-6204 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday or online by visiting atuph.org.

Universal Preservation Hall and Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame are a part of Proctors Collaborative. For more information on the Hall of Fame visit theeddiesawards.com.