Pacific Symphony Principal Trumpet Barry Perkins Featured In “Inauguration Fanfare For Joe And Kamala” 

Principal Trumpet Barry Perkins has been invited to represent Pacific Symphony in the Hope & Harmony Ensemble, formed by concert tour company Classical Movements in honor of the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Led by world-renowned conductor Marin Alsop, the 14 musicians represent the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Peabody Institute, South Asian Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Utah Symphony.

At a time when the orchestra world has been virtually silenced by the pandemic, Classical Movements has made a deliberate effort to bring together orchestras from every part of our country and to reflect the diversity of our people. Reflecting a desire for national unity and inclusiveness, half of the performing musicians are women and six are musicians of color.

The Music
The performance features two masterpieces of American classical music that perfectly represent our president- and vice president-elect:

  • Aaron Copland’s iconic “Fanfare for the Common Man” to celebrate the American people and in honor of Joe Biden; and
  • Joan Tower’s dynamic “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” for Kamala Harris, our remarkable and “uncommon” first female vice president.

An Unprecedented Show of Unity within the Orchestra Industry
Barry Perkins commented, “Having classical music involved in any presidential event is especially significant to me. Our highest level of government deserves a distinguished high level of music. As this orchestra is comprised of representatives from orchestras from all around the United States, I am so honored to be representing my particular region.”

In addition to footage of each musician, recorded in their homes and on site across the country, the presentation incorporates photographs and video illustrating “America the Beautiful” and the context of the struggle for civil rights and equality for women in the United States.

You can view the virtual “Fanfare for Joe and Kamala” on Pacific Symphony’s Facebook page or here on YouTube. You can read more about the project here.

Celebrating Diversity During the Holidays

Last month, AXP@Home, the online version of the Symphony’s acclaimed arts-X-press summer program, invited students to connect remotely to celebrate the holidays in song. They also enjoyed an in-depth discussion of the values of cultural tradition. This Holiday Diversity Celebration was the third workshop in the AXP@Home alumni workshop series.

Leslie Benjamin, choral music director at Savanna High School in Anaheim and arts-X-press vocal music instructor, led the workshop. He presented students with an array of traditional vocal songs and led group discussions about the importance of diversity. He stressed the value of recognizing the traditions associated with seasonal festivals and celebrations from different cultures. 

From the Christian holiday season of Advent to the celebration of Diwali in Hinduism, students connected to various faiths and their respective traditions through an overarching theme of serving the less fortunate. Students sang traditional folk songs, “To Love is Good,” “Be a Candle of Hope” and “Shalom Chaverim,” all of which symbolize community and the need for hope in a time of hardship. 

In these particular times of seclusion and uncertainty, students and counselors spoke about how becoming a “candle of hope” for others can encourage positivity both for ourselves and entire communities:

  • Counselor Julia noted how we can “celebrate our differences and diversity to really make it become our true strength through times of adversity.” 
  • AXP alumna Brooke noted diversity as “an important as a way to include everyone while also understanding everyone’s culture. You can celebrate everyone as a whole and avoid people feeling unwelcome or unaccepted.”

Mr. Benjamin pointed out that focusing on the similarities among different faiths can be an important step towards fostering a culture of acceptance and optimism. He encouraged students to find joy through the shared characteristics of different faiths, especially through central practices that encourage a hospitable and inclusive lifestyle. 

“Make sure that we bring hope to people; you not only bring joy to them, but you can also bring joy to yourself,” Leslie expressed to our group. “As you go out, shed some light – show people that you care by spreading positive emotions and peace. As we are separated and in different places, it’s a great way to bring and sustain a community.”

The focus on vocal music helped to communicate these timely ideas. Music continues to serve as a captivating approach for people of all ages, cultures and circumstances to unite through a universal artistic expression. In these pressing times, it becomes especially necessary to look beyond the lyrics and melody for the deeper cultural values that can connect us all. 

The next workshop in the AXP@Home Alumni Workshop series—“New Beginnings”—will be a visual-arts-centered workshop taking place on Weds., Jan. 27, 2021.

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