A Call Against Arms-The Armed Man: A Concert for Peace
One only has to turn on the news or pick up a paper and read of horrific outbreaks of violence. Explosions of rage and killing from youngsters, among family members, in schools and in places of worship. Maybe the war is not overseas? Maybe it rages in the hearts of our young people, raised in a culture of violence and a time of perpetual war.
One group is trying to change the discourse to be about peace and they are doing it with music and film- the media of our youth. Rackham Symphony Choir presents The Armed Man: A Concert for Peace on April 5.
The event, with its 150 performers, speaks to youth with two 13 year-old soloists and Gabriel Cabezas, a young cellist who took the 2006 Junior Division First Place Laureate at the Sphinx Competition at age 15. There are also dozens of middle school students featured in the award-winning film “The Armed Boy” which is shown during the concert. Finally student artwork is featured in two different displays at the event.
The Armed Man: A Concert for Peace is Sunday, April 5 at 4pm at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, Dearborn, 15801 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126. Tickets are $25-$45 and group discounts are available starting at only 10 tickets. Tickets are available through the FCPA Box Office in person, by phoning (313) 943-2354 or by visiting www.dearbornfordcenter.com
Conducting The Armed Man is Artistic and Music Director Suzanne Mallare Acton. Soloists include Leah Dexter of Southfield, Kristine Biller Mattson of New Jersey, Levi Hernandez of Chicago and Sean Panikkar of Dexter. Joining them are 13 year-olds Benjamin Hill of Royal Oak and Besher Kaslan of West Bloomfield. The piece opens with Besher giving the Muslim Call to Prayers juxtaposed with Benjamin performing the Kyrie from a Christian mass, underscoring how various cultures need to collaborate to achieve peace.
The community is also involved in the event in several ways. The concert is preceded by remarks from national and international peace activist, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a founding member of Pax Christi USA. In the lobby at the Ford Center are the Postcards for Peace program supported by the United Auto Workers; Origami for Peace, origami artwork created by area elementary students and the World Sabbath Peace Quilt. The World Sabbath organization gave their 2008 Peace Award to “The Armed Boy film.
The award-winning film, “The Armed Boy” commissioned by the Rackham Symphony Choir and directed by New York filmmaker Robert Cucuzza. Shot entirely in metro Detroit with area youngsters, it is a timely allegory of the ravages of violence and the importance of promoting peace and understanding among youth.