Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Played Free Concert, Healed City With Music

By now, you’ve probably heard that Baltimore is being torn apart by a battle between police and the protesters who blame police for the death of 25-year-old city resident Freddie Gray (Gray died while in police custody). The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has a unique way to ease the city’s widespread pain in the wake of the looting, rioting, and general anarchy that has been occurring there: with music.

The orchestra played a free concert outside their hall in Baltimore on Wednesday, KansasCity.com’s entertainment section reported. According to the site, the orchestra’s Facebook page posted a simple but powerful message in the wake of the rioting — “We could all use a little music right now” — and finished that statement using the hashtag #BSOpeace.

Kevin Lindamood, who is the CEO of a Baltimore-based organization called Healthcare for the Homeless that seeks to end homelessness in Maryland, tweeted at the symphony to thank them for their random act of kindness and help spread word of the free concert.

Given that the Baltimore protests were violent enough to shut down the Baltimore Oriole’s stadium for a day, you have to give credit to the courageousness of the orchestra members performing the concert and those who watched the event. According to Kansascity.com, the orchestra announced the event using a quote Leonard Bernstein originally said after the assassination of President Kennedy.

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than before.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, another musical group by the name of Bach in Baltimore will be dedicating their May 5 performance to the memory of Freddie Gray, and including what the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance calls a “plea for peace and reconciliation” during the concert.

The Sun also spoke about a tweet by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Marin Alsop, in which she said she was “heartbroken” over the events that transpired in the city but expressed a hope that the symphony’s music would inspire others to join the orchestra in “changing the world.” Another article by theSun reported that the city is slowly returning to normalcy, and businesses destroyed by the looting and rioting are promising they will rebuild.

The fact that the concert was able to occur undisturbed may be the first sign of the city gradually moving towards peace (even rival gang members were said to have put aside their differences in order to work with religious leaders in restoring peace to the city). The idea of a free concert providing emotional support to the community in the face of so much destruction likens itself to a beacon of hope, however small it may seem, that the city can repair its rocky history and lead its citizens to a brighter future.

[Image Credit: Gabriella Demczuk, NY Times]