Wednesday, March 11, 2015

'The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights' on July 17, 2015 takes its title from 'A Plain-Chant for America,' orchestrated by William Grant Still

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

Eun Lee of writes:

The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights

An orchestral concert benefitting civil rights and N.Y.P.D. affiliated community organizations

New York, NY, July 17, 2015 - "The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights" is a gathering of orchestral musicians, and nationally prominent artists and figures, who will raise their voices for those who have been silenced. Proceeds from the concert will go to the N.Y.C.L.U. and Grandmothers L.O.V. (Love Over Violence), an anti-gun-violence advocacy and support group founded by the N.Y.P.D.  The concert will take place on July 17, 2015, a year following the death of Eric Garner, who was one in a string of homicides of unarmed African-American men which exploded onto the news in 2014.

In the aftermath of last year, much of the rhetoric in this national conversation has been heated and vindictive.  On opposite ends, there are cries of being victimized and demonized, and in such states of mind, constructive dialogue is not possible.  The goal of this concert is for music to function as it has for centuries: as a means for people to come together. 

With a pay-what-you-can ticket price and an orchestra comprised of musicians from every borough of New York, we intend the concert to be a space for people of all backgrounds to gather, to show that the systemic discrimination of black lives matters to people of all colors and classes.  The title of our concert comes from Plain-Chant for America, a poem written by Katherine Garrison Chapin Biddle (wife of Francis Biddle, attorney-general during the Nuremberg trials), and orchestrated by African-American composer William Grant Still.  Our title also invokes the powerful speech Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in Washington, D.C. more than 50 years ago.  As the years between Reverend King's speech and our present day have shown us, from every homicide that remains uninvestigated, to every look of distrust exchanged between civilians of color and law officials, we see sadly that Dr. King's dream, and the American dream of equal opportunity and freedom to all, remains incomplete.  Plain-Chant for America opens with the text:

     For the dream unfinished out of which we came
     We stand together.

It is for this dream that we have assembled, to raise our collective voice on behalf of those who have been silenced or ignored, and through music, we hope to inspire others to continue working towards a dream fulfilled.

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