GLP Imagined Community Concert: Music to Move to

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

GLP Imagined Community Concert: Music to Move to

Rose Martus (writer), Emily Davis, Sandra Rivera, and Natalia Bohórquez Lozano, GLP ‘22 Cohort


Editor’s Note: The Global Leaders Program develops music for social impact leadership through an intensive year of learning that includes small working groups. One of the learning modules is on teaching artistry, and the culminating project for small groups is to apply what they’ve learned to design a music project for a particular program the group has been investigating for months. The assignment is to imagine and design an interactive community event that would deepen connections between the program and a community it wants to more fully engage with.

The projects are so imaginative that the Ensemble editors thought it would be interesting, even inspiring, for our readers to discover what these working groups have imagined. This is our second entry of the series, sharing an imagined community concert in the hope that the Global Leaders’ ideas can spark your own ideas for concerts that might deepen your program’s community connections. Our thanks to the Global Leaders teams and program leaders for sharing their visions of what’s possible.

Shortly before our concert design was conceived and written, Eric Booth spoke to the GLP ‘22 cohort about using movement as a tool in teaching artistry. The message resonated with Emily, Natalia, Sandra, and me—we each had a story about how we taught someone, or learned from someone, using movement. We knew that movement had to fit into our event proposal for El Sistema Greece (ESG), the organization we had been partnering with and learning from.

ESG works primarily with children around Athens, particularly those in refugee families. This work has only become more challenging amid pandemic concerns and refugee camp closures, so my team wanted to help them reignite their efforts with migrant children.  The decision to focus on movement and dance allowed us to envision an event where differing languages could be put aside; our concert proposal is named “Music to Move To.”

The concert would take place in an outdoor venue, with the orchestra set up in the center of the space, creating a 360-degree seating (or standing) arrangement for concert-goers—instead of places behind or in front of one another, every spot would be a prime location. On their way in, concertgoers would each receive a ribbon, a token meant to encourage self-expression throughout the performance.

During the performance, a teaching artist would lead the audience through different dance and movement activities, with other dancers placed among the audience to encourage participation. The orchestra, composed of professional musicians and ESG students, would perform excerpts from traditional Greek music, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz” from Serenade for Strings, and Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances. These choices reflect not only traditional repertoire but also the musical experiences of the audience members. Throughout the show, audience members would be encouraged to create shapes and expressions with their ribbons—for instance, “drawing” a triangle in the air to demonstrate a ¾ time signature—so that even the more self-conscious attendees might move freely.

We would like this concert to spark joy in the hearts of those attending—likely, people without a permanent home, whose uncertain futures might be overwhelmingly stressful. Their children might witness the hope and gratification of playing music, possibly at ESG. In this way, the concert can be an invitation for those children to interact with the program. Ultimately, we envision this concert as a way to contribute to one of ESG’s main goals: to celebrate migrants as the valuable members of the community they already are, and to welcome them more fully as people and artists.


© Copyright 2022 Ensemble News