Third conservatory concert supports Black Lives Matter solidarity

Georgia On My Mind for Black Lives Matter Solidarity Concert

Most of University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music students had already returned to their homes for the summer when Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, flooded the country.

Many students felt that there was a stronger-than-ever need to express solidarity with the protesters and affected communities. That is how the idea of Black Lives Matter Solidarity concerts was born. 

A collective group of student leaders from Pacific music fraternities, student-run ensembles and the Conservatory of Music Student Senate came together to organize the first virtual concert on June 25. Due to the ongoing need, but also because of the positive response from the artists and the community, two more concerts followed on July 24 and Aug. 28. 

To raise awareness, the concerts featured  music from traditional spirituals to popular hits to classic, to support arts in Black and minority communities.  

Following the style of the past two concerts, the August program included musical offerings. Mu Phi Epsilon, Mu Eta Chapter kicked off the event with a choral and piano arrangement of Ben E. King’s popular song “Stand by Me.”

Also well known to the audience were Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” sang straight from the heart by Filo Ebid ’23, and Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” performed by Pacific Stocktones, a student-run a cappella group. Basement Saxophone Quartet presented an instrumental arrangement of the traditional song “Let My People Go,” dating back to the Civil War. Another traditional spiritual performed that evening was “When the Sun Goes Down” by the sisters from Sigma Alpha Iota, Eta Omega Chapter. 

Concert organizers also welcomed original compositions from conservatory students and guest artists. During the August event, the audience heard “All I Can Do,” written and performed by Elizabeth Bocks, “Here We Go Again,” written and performed by Jelani Brown ’20, and “Song for Ursa” by Katahj Copley and performed by 209 Brass Ensemble. 

It is a long-standing tradition at the conservatory to end ensemble concerts with all performers singing “Pacific Hail.” The third Black Lives Matter Solidarity concert closed with a special performance of the university’s anthem performed by a 25-person chorus of conservatory students and faculty. 

“I wanted to put this together to include both faculty and students,” said Lily Tumbale ’22. “While working on these concerts, we've said time and again that we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. I thought it would be great to show that together with our Pacific family.”