Update: Watch the full “Dallas Sings/Dallas Strong” program above. Highlights of the concert include:
On Thursday night, nearly 700 singers gathered in the Meyerson Symphony Center to join the choir for “Dallas Sings/Dallas Strongs.” Among them were local choir members, including homeless from the Dallas Street Choir, as well as lawyers, accountants and teachers.
Jonathan Palant conducted the choir and organized the evening. He hoped bringing the city together in song would help it heal.
“I think that our world has just been topsy-turvy lately,” says Palant. “We’ve seen so much violence and so much hatred and so much bigotry that tonight is all about bringing people together in song.”
One member of the chorus, volunteer EMS worker Sharon Prek, says she has friends who are police officers. Her sympathy for the families of the five officers killed in last week’s attack brought her out to sing. She says the unity she felt at the concert was a “blessing” that “completely overshadows the act of a few.”
Many attendees felt uplifted, like Erica Cole of East Dallas. She had been overwhelmed with grief after recent violence and says she needed time to heal. She had hoped music could help but had her doubts, until she watched the concert.
“I walked in grieving, and I left feeling like a cloud had lifted,” she says. “So proud tonight.”
Her husband, Randal Cole, says he was touched by the spoken word poets Thom Browne, Alejandro Perez Jr and Will Richey.
“They said that we’re a town that can carry Black Lives Matter signs,” he says, “and then set them down and praise the Dallas police. So I thought that was very touching.”
This story was reported by Hady Mawajdeh.
Original story: After a week of so much violence, performers in Dallas and Minneapolis are turning to music to respond to tragedy.
“Dallas Sings/Dallas Strong” is a free concert co-hosted by Credo Choir and the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs at the Meyerson Symphony Center — and the choir is you. Everyone is invited to join the choir, which Jonathan Palant, founder and director of Credo, hopes will number in the hundreds. Local singers like Liz Mikel, Denise Lee and Ava Pine will perform, and leaders will speak, including Bishop Michael McKee of the United Methodist Church of North Texas and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Will Richey, Alejandro Perez Jr. and Thom Browne will perform a spoken word piece.
Art&Seek will stream the concert live, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Palant hopes that the concert will be an uplifting response to the violence of the past few weeks: the deaths of five police officers here in Dallas: Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Sgt. Michael Smith, DART Officer Brent Thompson and Officer Patrick Zamarripa; and the deaths of two men killed by police: Philando Castile in Minneapolis and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.
“Music has the power to unite people of all backgrounds and of all being,” Palant says. As the city grieves over the loss of the officers, Palant believes many have lost hope, and he wants to restore that with songs.
“Through music, I hope that we see that light,” he says. “I hope that we come together to say we are living breathing individuals who can do something, who can stand up and say it’s not acceptable to fight the way we are fighting.”
To join the choir, just get to the Meyerson by 5:30. If you can’t carry a tune, the performance is also free for audience members. Doors open at 7.
At the north end of I-35, in Minneapolis, where Castile died, Classical Minnesota Public Radio is hosting a similar concert tomorrow. It’s called “A Bridge of Song.” At one point in the evening, both crowds will sing the same song, “Why We Sing,” at the same time.