Blogkeeping: Congrats Jenny S for winning the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo giveaway. Please reply to my email by end of today to confirm you can still attend.
Cleveland has a rich ethnic heritage, dating back far into the city’s history and spanning many cultures. The Cleveland Memory Project, for instance, hosts some fascinating information from The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum’s Immigrant Experience Project, which recorded the stories of approximately ninety immigrants from over thirty cultural backgrounds.
Today, many refugee populations continue to forge a new home in the Cleveland region.
A new musical piece commissioned by CityMusic Cleveland weaves together the stories of these communities, the hardship and oppression they’ve fled, and their long journey to settle in Cleveland.
Dan Visconti’s Roots to Branches will make its world premiere this week during CityMusic’s March concert series.
As with all of their concert series, CityMusic will tour the performance at different locations around Cleveland. And in keeping with CityMusic’s mission to make chamber music more accessible, every concert is free though donations are welcomed.
The concert premieres tomorrow, March 12 at 7:30pm at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. Other performances include:
- Cleveland Heights: Thurs., March 13 at 10:00am, Noble Elementary School, 1293 Ardoon St
- Cleveland: Thurs., March 13 at 7:30pm, Trinity Lutheran Church, 2031 West 30th St
- Lakewood: Fri., March 14 at 7:30pm, Lakewood Congregational Church, 1375 West Clifton Blvd
- Slavic Village: Sat., March 15 at 7:30pm, Shrine of St. Stanislaus, 3649 E. 65th St
- Willoughby Hills: Sun., March 16 at 4:00pm, St. Noel Church, 35200 Chardon Rd
Visconti worked with CityMusic and Grammy-winning percussionist Shane Shanahan to produce this new work, a concerto for hand percussion with orchestra and narrator. In an email to CityMusic supporters, he shared what inspired the composition:
“The title of the concerto comes from this quote, from an interview with a local Bhutanese refugee:
‘I have lost my roots but gained many branches; my family tree flowers once again with the promise of opportunity, and in my turn my greatest hope is to give back to this great country that has given my family a new chance to blossom.’
In turns hair-raising, offbeat, and joyous, the concerto Roots to Branches features percussion instruments from around the globe, gives expressive voice to these refugees’ experiences, and paints a portrait of a population that is already giving back to the community that offered them the chance of a better life.”
In addition to Roots to Branches, this week’s concert series will include Khse Buon for cello solo by Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”. An IndieGoGo project is also underway to record Roots to Branches so that the stories of our community’s refugees can be told to others.
This will be only my second CityMusic Cleveland concert. When I attended their Viennese Waltz Kings concert in December, I fell in love with CityMusic’s mission of calling attention to social concerns while making chamber music more accessible to the Cleveland community. It also helped that the performance was incredible and the group’s welcoming spirit was so contagious.
It’s no surprise that as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, CityMusic Cleveland is reaching nearly 20,000 people per season.
In conjunction with the concerto’s world premiere, CityMusic will be at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland on Sunday, March 16. Join them and special guests from Cleveland’s refugee community to learn kids’ songs from all over the globe. The interactive presentation will take place at 10:30am, 11:30am, and 12:30pm.
They’ll also be presenting a program with Global Cleveland at the City Club of Cleveland on March 21. At noon, global human rights activist Kerry Kennedy will speak about the plight of modern-day refugees, highlighting the stories of hidden communities of refugees settling in the US, including those from Bhutan/Nepal, Myanmar, Iraq, and Somalia. Call 216-621-0082 to make reservations.