Movement: a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.
The United States has seen protest movements from its earliest days as various groups – be they civil rights organizers, veterans upset about benefits, farm workers and others seeking improved working conditions, women seeking the right to vote, gay men and lesbians seeking marriage equity, or any of the many others with their own causes – took to the streets to help our country move towards a “more perfect union.” For the majority of our country’s history, music has been central to the protests and organized efforts to awaken Americans to the needs of “other” Americans.
Since Grand Performances earliest years, our stages have hosted a wealth of singers who have shared the music that inspired people as they gathered, sometimes at great risk to their own lives, to use “people power” to influence public and private policy so that disenfranchised groups could gain access to rights granted to one group but denied to others. Some of this music has now become part of the ‘Great American Songbook’ – the collection of songs that we often learned in school, sang at camps and picnics or in other ways incorporated into our own lives. Some of this music, though composed by singer-songwriters with national and international fame, became the “folk songs” that have been passed from one generation to another as the success of one activist group led to a challenge for another, younger group. And some of this music has gone international (or has international roots) as people elsewhere in the world benefitted from the empowerment of music to support their efforts to change life in their countries.
Our Nation Awakens – supported by the Liberty Hill Foundation, which is celebrating 40 years of providing support for community-based organizations that are improving life in Los Angeles – is one of a number of programs that are part of Grand Performances’ 30th Summer Series that celebrate music created to inspire and acknowledge the struggles that are still evident in this most heterogeneous of countries.
Mia Doi Todd
Bass/Co-MD: Jon Flaugher
Keys: Kenneth Crouch
Guitar: Brett Farkus
Drums: Randy Cook
Percussion: Alberto Lopez
Tenor Saxophone: Matthew DeMerritt
Trumpet: Matt Kirk
Background Vocal: Roslyn Moody
Background Vocal: Rachel Fannan
Md/Conductor: Dexter Story
Co-Producer: Rocio Wyldeflower Contreras