I feel a bit shallow and elitist, however, writing about that when people are dying in Haiti. I'm sure the salaries of orchestra musicians are not exactly a priority when that poorest of nations is suffering so terribly. It would be nice if we could have both support of the arts and support for and help for the men, woman and children who are bereft of medical care, food, water, and shelter, and will be for some time. This is a good site to go to for contributions because I like the idea of those two ex-presidents working together for the common good. That's how it should be at all times, a concept which seems to have escaped most of those in public life.
Saturday morning I was a storyteller at the annual MLK Prayer Breakfast which the NAACP sponsors. I had never been to this affair and it was really fun. Our NAACP is quite diversified I used to be member during the Civil Rights era. I remember marching with thousands in downtown Akron, hoping that some crack pot wasn't lurking in one of the buildings with a shot gun, hoping to pick off a few of us. This was right after Viola Liuzzo was shot in Selma and the horrendous violence at the Edmond Pettus Bridge. It was a scary time. It culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was a beginning. The meal itself was perfect and included grits, which I appreciated. The program included poetry, a moving video of MLK, several presentations by young students, and storytelling. One of the storytellers was a former student from one of my workshops. She did a first person narrative in the person of a participant in the march in Selma, which was excellent. I did a folk tale from the oral tradition. There were two women singers who lifted me right out of my seat with their beautiful voices. It was a fine way to spend a morning and remember MLK.
On Sunday afternoon , the UCC Church sponsored a performance of the Prayer Warriors, a gospel group from Akron. I had heard them a couple of times, once at a folk festival and again at Akron's New Year's Eve First Night. They are a powerful group whose music can make you almost get religion - almost. They are not about ritual, but about praise and worship. They rocked that white bread church right out of its pews. I happen to be reading "The Known World," about free Blacks and slaves in the Pre-Civil War South and I wonder how such faith and joy could survive what they have gone through. It was a wonderful concert.
So I began the weekend with Brahms and ended it with music of the people and remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. Made my head spin it did.