GLP Imagined Community Concert: Reunion

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: Reunion

Fredrika Brillembourg (author), Júlia Simões, Daniel Montes, Emmanuel Vukovich, 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 engage with more fully.

The projects were 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 the fifth and final 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.

Our group studied Community MusicWorks (CMW), an organization based in Providence, Rhode Island that seeks to bring people together and build community through music. During our conversations with them, CMW staff shared that they sometimes struggle to engage families to attend concerts. In considering how best to bring together all CMW families, students, and faculty, we came up with “Reunion,” an imagined concert designed to help CMW unite and celebrate their community’s many cultures and people.

The “Reunion” concert would take place outdoors, next to Providence’s Armory Farmers Market at Dexter Park. Not only is this a location where all community members would feel welcome—it’s also right behind the CMW building. The concert would consist of three musical elements, beginning with a flash mob. The flash mob is meant to represent the physical experience of uniting; musicians would enter the space from all sides of the park, playing Arturo Marquez’ Danzón No. 2 as they come in.

In the second element of our concert, a speaker would read the story of Parzival and Feirefiz, in which two half-brothers of different races reunite. A performance of the story’s corresponding musical piece by the CMW String Ensemble would follow the reading.

The third element will be a sing-along of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” with all concertgoers exploring different musical styles as they sing together. Preparation for this interactive performance would have begun months earlier; leading up to the concert, CMW staff would teach the melody and lyrics to their students, and then encourage those students to go home and teach the song to their families. By interacting with their children through music-making, families will connect in a different way and hopefully feel more invested in the final performance.

To close, all performers would reprise Danzón No. 2, with everyone playing together and dancing. Dancers from other local arts organizations would join in the fun, making this a true community event.

Our proposal includes a more ambitious partnership as well, which could potentially serve as a follow-up to “Reunion.” We would like to partner Community MusicWorks with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, whose woodwind, brass, and percussion players could perform alongside the students. This partnership would include masterclasses taught by the Philharmonic players and culminate in a follow-up concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. With or without this added element, we believe “Reunion” would encourage the Providence community to sing, dance, and make music together, honoring the city’s rich cultural tapestry.