The South Bend Symphony’s MLK Day concert will be tomorrow night. As always, my favorite thing about this event is the new music we get to perform.
This year we are featuring a 1991 work by Michael Abels, Global Warming. I had presumed from the title that the work was about climate change, and I was on board with that message. But as I worked on my part, it just seemed too chipper and cheery, too folksy and happy for that. So I did my research.
Abels is quoted as saying:
“Global Warming was written around the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, when the Cold War was ending. Living in Los Angeles, I’ve been able to learn about music from around the world simply by opening the window; among my neighbors are immigrants from every corner of the world. I was intrigued by the similarities between folk music of divergent cultures, and decided to write a piece that celebrates these common threads as well as the sudden improvement in international relations that was occurring. Since the piece was commissioned for an orchestra in the desert city of Phoenix, AZ, “global warming” was the title that seemed to incorporate all these ideas best.”
And how delightful that the message of this piece is actually one of unity, celebration, and optimism! What a wonderful way to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and how timely to offer this message of global unity, given the terrifying reality of our current political situation. Music SHOULD be something that brings us together, and SHOULD be something that inspires and engages us.
I’m an hour away from our first rehearsal. Reality has not yet asserted itself – I don’t know how the overall arc of the concert will feel, how our guest conductor will be, whether everyone will be prepared with the tricky rhythms and grace notes in the Abels, how the overall presentation will come together – so for now I can revel in my optimism, and my enjoyment of the concept and the plan.
Come on out tomorrow night, and hear how we do! Details HERE.