Orchestral and choral musicians from across Michigan will join forces on Sunday, September 10 at 7 p.m. to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in a free concert at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.
Titled “Musicians Take A Stand for Refugees,” the concert is being staged to raise awareness for two organizations responding to the current refugee crisis: Freedom House Detroit (FHD) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Professional musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony, and Flint Symphony Orchestra, along with students, faculty and alumni from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance and other volunteer musicians, will comprise the orchestra. The choir, featured in the symphony’s famous final movement, “Ode to Joy,” will include members of the state’s most esteemed choirs, such as the UMS Choral Union.
Kevin Fitzgerald, music director of Spectrum Orchestra (Birmingham, MI) will conduct the concert and Arianne Abela, founder and artistic director of the Detroit Women’s Chorus, is the chorus master. The soloists for the symphony’s finale are four rising stars in the world of opera: Rebecca Nathanson (soprano), Briana Elyse Hunter (mezzo-soprano), Jesse Donner (tenor), and Jeff Byrnes (baritone).
The concert is being presented by Musicians Take A Stand (MTAS), a nonprofit service organization based in Ann Arbor, which advocates for musicians across the country who wish to bring attention to humanitarian causes. MTAS is under the fiscal sponsorship of The Phoenix Ensemble, an Ann Arbor-based music education and advocacy organization led by Gabriel Bolkosky. Austin Stewart worked with Bolkosky as executive producer of the concert.
“My father, Sid Bolkosky, a Holocaust historian and professor at U-M Dearborn, taught me the power and importance of empathy,” said Gabriel Bolkosky. “He interviewed hundreds of Holocaust survivors and said that where there is suffering in the world, we must pay attention and, placing politics aside, help those in need; help those less fortunate regardless of their backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicity and color. I am a musician. I do not know how to stop war, or save lives. But I can put my talents to use by raising money for and awareness about the organizations that are fighting this deeply spiritual battle to help the needy.”
In addition to musicians and singers, MTAS is seeking volunteers to assist in all other areas of staging the concert , including publicity, marketing, personnel management, community engagement, and more. All interested volunteers should visit musicianstakeastand.org to fill out a volunteer application.
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* Unfortunately, the Afterglow Party, originally scheduled to follow the concert has been cancelled.