Music by Judah Adashi
Poetry by Tameka Cage Conley
"Strong words, clear music." -- Anne Midgette, Washington Post, April 2015
Rise, for double choir and instrumental ensemble, bears witness to civil rights in America at a fraught moment in our history. A 40-minute reflection on the journey from Selma to Ferguson and beyond, the work is at once a celebration and a reckoning, the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century seen through the unimaginable triumphs and horrors – the election of the first African-American president, juxtaposed with the deaths of young black men at the hands of law enforcement officers – of the 21st.
Rise was commissioned by the Cantate Chamber Singers for their 30th anniversary season, and premiered in conjunction with Howard University’s Afro Blue on April 19, 2015 at Washington, DC’s historic Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. The morning of the performance, a young black man named Freddie Gray died of severe injuries sustained while in Baltimore Police custody. The opening movement of Rise was recorded and released during the subsequent Baltimore Uprising, with all proceeds going to the Gray family.
On April 19, 2016, we honor Freddie Gray and Baltimore with an event called RiseBmore2016.
The event begins with a 6:30pm conversation about art and activism in Baltimore, with D. Watkins, Aaron Maybin, Tariq Touré and Sonja Sohn. The evening continues with a 7:30pm concert, including The Beauty of the Protest -- a new composition by Peabody Institute faculty member Judah Adashi, inspired by the work of local photographer Devin Allen -- and a performance of Rise. Featured musicians include Howard University's Afro Blue, the Howard University Choir, cellist Lavena Johanson, the Peabody Community Chorus, and the Occasional Symphony.
RiseBmore2016 is sponsored by the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
- music from Rise on Bandcamp and Soundcloud
- two poems from Rise ("O, Light" and "Remains")
- an essay about meeting Congressman John Lewis, a central figure in Rise
- commentary on Rise by the poet and composer, and an interview with both
More on Rise at Storify, Johns Hopkins Hub, Baltimore City Paper (also here), WBAL-TV, and Chorus America.
Supporters of RiseBmore2016 are invited to learn about and consider donating to these grassroots organizations in Baltimore:
The Baltimore Algebra Project
Baltimore United for Change
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle
No Boundaries Coalition