Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Black Dance Theatre Will Perform Concert in Honor of George Floyd
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Project Unity announced a public concert to honor those who have lost their lives to racial violence and injustice - most recently, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Dallas's Botham Jean. The November 11 concert is a fundraiser for Project Unity, an organization founded by Pastor Richie Butler of St. Paul United Methodist Church. Project Unity works to unify Dallas by implementing community-building programs to help heal race relationships between law enforcement and Dallas citizens, as well as other community programs. The DSO and Project Unity partnered in 2019 for the inspiring Gospel Goes Classical concert.
"The events of recent months have been devastating and painful. We have reflected on how we as an organization can respond, and, with the magnitude of the crisis, we have more questions than answers," said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "How can we take a leadership role as an arts organization and respond in a meaningful way? How can we expand the DSO's inclusivity on every level, and what can we do to build consensus to move forward to unite people of different backgrounds, races and ethnicities? As a first step, this concert will use music to unite and heal and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and deserved to be honored on a national level."
"Since its founding in 1976 by Ann Williams, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has been committed to bridging cultures and will continue to educate and use dance to define our identity and values to advance a more just society," said Melissa M. Young, Artistic Director, Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of DBDT and member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Board of Governors added, "We are pleased to work with the DSO and Project Unity to honor those who lost their lives but who will be remembered and inspire us all to be catalysts for critical change in our communities."
"The events of the past few weeks have left us hurting as a community with deep wounds that have been re-opened," said Pastor Richie Butler. "It is in these times that we look to each other to make real change that is more than words on a page. Project Unity's mission is to bring the community together and to listen to everyone. With the Dallas Symphony and Dallas Black Dance Theatre, we will gather to do just that."
The program will include musical and dance performances and remarks from prominent Dallas leaders. The DSO will commission a new work for the occasion from Quinn Mason, a Dallas-based black composer currently studying at SMU, to be premiered at the event. Students from the DSO's Young Strings program, a 28-year old education initiative designed to increase diversity in America's orchestras, will also perform.
"I am completely committed to moving the organization's inclusion and diversity efforts forward as quickly as possible," said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony. "In recent years, the DSO has committed to authentic inclusion in audience development, education activities, board diversification and building on our inclusive hiring and business practices, but we have much more work to do."
Tickets will go on sale in August, and all social distancing and CDC guidelines will be in practice for this concert, both on the stage and in the audience.