One Year After the Riots, BSO Plans Free Concert in West Baltimore

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Music Director Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra are heading back to West Baltimore to present a free concert, one year after the riots following the death of Freddie Gray.

The BSO announced that it will perform a concert entitled “Symphony for the City: The BSO at Bethel,” onFriday, May 6, at 8 p.m. at Bethel A. M. E. Church, 1300 Druid Hill Avenue in Marble Hill.

The BSO performed in West Baltimore last year in a free concert organized to help unite and heal the city following a week of unrest and 10 p.m. curfews. According to the BSO, this year’s concert  “reflects back on a year of healing” for the city.

“The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offers this concert in recognition and admiration of the spirit of the citizens of Baltimore,” Alsop said. “We share the universal language of music. The BSO belongs to everyone.”

Alsop will lead the program. It addition to the BSO, it will include musicians from the Bethel A.M.E. Church Choir and the BSO’s inner-city after-school program, OrchKids. The Rev. Jimmie Thomas will serve as the performance’s narrator.

The program will open with an American classic, Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. The orchestra will also perform the first movement of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” a work that was influenced by the American spiritual tradition.

The BSO and the Bethel A.M.E. Church Choir will collaborate on several works,  “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” “Total Praise,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Central to the concert is New Morning for the World, by Joseph Schwantner, the narration comprised of public speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King that spanned more than a decade of his life. The concert will conclude with the “Hallelujah!” from Too Hot to Handel, the Jazz-Gospel update of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah that was conceived by Alsop.

Tickets will not be issued, and seating is first come, first served. The BSO encourages people to come early.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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