BEATS RHYMES AND RELIEF wrote -
The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights is a gathering of orchestral musicians, and nationally prominent artists and figures, who will join the chorus of calls for civil rights, social justice, and an end to systemic racism. With fiscal sponsorship from arts-and-humanitarian-aid organization Beats, Rhymes, & Relief, proceeds from the concert will go to the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice League NYC. The concert will be held at Centennial Memorial Temple, located a few minutes walk from Union Square, and it will take place on July 17, a year following the death of Eric Garner, who was one in a string of homicides of unarmed African-American men which exploded onto the news in 2014.
With a pay-what-you-can ticket price and an orchestra comprised of musicians from every borough of New York, we intend the concert to be a space for people of all backgrounds to gather, to show that this systemic discrimination of black lives matters to people of all colors and classes. The orchestra will be led by dynamic conductor James Blachly, and the program will include a world premiere from composer Jessie Montgomery; works by Leonard Bernstein — best-known for his charismatic conducting and memorable Broadway and orchestral compositions, who also championed civil rights in his personal and public life; and feature the music of William Grant Still — the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra and to have a symphony premiered by a leading orchestra, whose body of work has been left largely neglected since his passing.
The title of our concert comes from Plain-Chant for America, a poem written by Katherine Garrison Chapin Biddle—wife of Francis Biddle, attorney-general during the Nuremberg trials— and orchestrated by African-American composer William Grant Still. Plain-Chant for America opens with the text:
For the dream unfinished out of which we came
We stand together.
It is for this dream that we have assembled. As we raise our collective voice in support of those who have been silenced or ignored; through music, we hope to inspire others to continue working towards a dream fulfilled.