Saturday night’s performance of Johannes Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem)” by conductor Markus Stenz and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Orchestra was given an unexpected element by demonstrators protesting the death in Ferguson of Michael Brown.The video:
As Stenz prepared to give the downbeat after the intermission, voices on the main floor began singing the civil rights-era standard “Which Side Are You On?” with some added lyrics. (They had fine voices, too.) Others moved to the front of the dress circle boxes to unfurl three home-made banners, join in the song, and drop paper hearts printed with “Requiem for Mike Brown” onto the seats below.
Well-dressed and polite, the mostly college-age protesters left peacefully when they finished, chanting “Black lives matter!” They received a smattering of applause from both audience and performers.
The Dailykos has more from organizer Sarah Greisbach:
The symphony has held benefit concerts for Ferguson. These are artists. Artists have responded to this movement from the beginning. I went to Elizabeth Vega with the idea and we found that Brahms Requiem would play in mere weeks. We melted in our chairs at the sheer beauty of that connection. She said, "Requiem for Mike Brown!" She immediately contacted Derek Laney and then artist Jelani Brown (who designed the banners) and we began bouncing ideas around. We wanted to try something that might possibly be persuasive. That's when the idea for the rain of confetti heart invitations was hatched. And then we came to the realization that we could disrupt without interrupting if we tuned things well. The real magic wasn't in the planning though. It was in the people who all came together, slightly terrified, after long work weeks and many other protest events. Some had only recently been arrested and several participants needed coffee just to get started. But the adrenaline of doing something that right kicked in and our voices came together and somehow we pulled it off.By the way, this is a recording of what they disrupted without interrupting:
Selig sind, die da Leid tragenBlack lives matter.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Die mit Tränen säen,
werden mit Freuden ernten.
Sie gehen hin und weinen
und tragen edlen Samen,
und kommen mit Freuden
und bringen ihre Garben
They who sow in tears, shall reap in joy.
Go forth and cry,
bearing precious seed,
and come with joy
bearing their sheaves (Psalm 126: 5-6)