JECOREY ARTHUR / TEDDY ABRAMS School hall to Concert hall to City Hall in Louisville, Kentucky 2021
Building Bridges Between People and Cultures to Help America Heal
The Louisville Symphony Project is a perfect example of what Peace Oratorio strives for: Musical Enlightenment that brings Blacks and Whites, young and old, rich and poor together to understand each other and make the peace!
All Things Considered Interview of Teddy Abrams And Jecorey Arthur with Ari Shapiro
AS: “ How do traditional arts organizations respond to turbulent times? Louisville, Kentucky has been the center of protests since Breona Taylor was killed by police one year ago. Now two prominent musicians have an unusual collaboration. Jecorey Arthur is a rapper and music educator who last year became Louisville’s youngest elected official as a city councilor. Teddy Abrams conducts the Louisville orchestra, and now they’re teaming up for a concert.
TA: “It seems like the perfect opportunity… to tell the story of Black music using the orchestra as the platform, but using the subject matter as a way of transcending the genre of orchestral music.”
JA: “The throughline of where we are today, in terms of American music and how it is a reflection of Black music, a reflection of Negro spirituals that were sung on plantations by enslaved Black people, and how that music really led us from the spirituals themselves. Through blues to R&B, rock and roll, hip-hop, these Negro melodies that are religious and bold and married, and they got us to where we are today.”
TA: “We the artists are the ones that should be at the table talking about the future of our communities and our cities, not the thing that gets dealt with when everything else is funded and paid for and taken care of. (…) I think you have to do it in a way that makes everybody feel proud and like they belong to what’s happening at the orchestra. (…) That idea of getting audiences to be excited and to be the driving force is my mission.”
JA: “…We're really just trying to show people that music is music. And you can go from one genre to the next… seamlessly, and really show people to do the same in appreciating, on the listening part. We also do the same when we enter classrooms, making sure that everyone feels like they're a part of the music-making and that their experiences are reflected on that stage. (…) When you unpack everything that Teddy and I are about, it’s the same mission: improve this world, make this world better, but now it’s just not the school hall, it’s not just the concert hall, it’s also City Hall.
I DREAM A WORLD
INSPIRED BY LANGSTON HUGHES
Under the sun and under the moon I dream a world where people of every race, color and creed, whether young old rich poor sick well weak strong born in the Americas or born abroad, shall be free to be who they dream to be yet always see feel love heal each other as brothers and sisters.
I dream a world that sings wings brings together talents to transfigure torrents of troubles into rivers of peace, to heal the bitter wounds of hatred with songs of belonging, songs of believing, strong songs rising up from blood stained soil and the slaves’ bitter toil. Let bells ring for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil Rights Act of ‘64, the Voting Rights Act of ’65 and today let your votes bring the George Floyd Justice Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act into being. Let future generations see hear feel better, brighter days where the sun shines equally for each and every one, let them dream in restful nights where the moon beams soothingly for peace loving people all over this country with a calling… America.
I dream a world where here there everywhere people are born into a world to live love work together, their voices ringing winging singing heartfelt harmonies that herald an era of peace, love and freedom from oppression for all of God’s children on our one and only planet Earth, under our one and only sun and our one and only moon.
We dream a new world today!