About the Grant

$40,000 to support At War With Ourselves (MAP 2014)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

About the Project

In September 2015, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will present the world premiere of a one-hour, secular, contemporary musical oratorio, At War With Ourselves. This multi-media project is commissioned for the Kronos Quartet and a 500-voice choir with score by jazz composer Terence Blanchard, story and libretto/spoken word created by National Book Award-winning poet Nikky Finney. This singular performance will be presented for free on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The performance serves as the culminating event to The Clarice’s two-year programmatic focus of "Civil War to Civil Rights: The Well-Being of a Nation" as part of The National Civil War Project.

This project will offer a focused and uncensored (national) gaze at what tore our nation apart, racially and culturally 150 years ago, to begin conversations. Echoes of the war are still present in contemporary society, and with this project we hope to more fully understand the reasons why we do not live in a post-racial America.

The Clarice is collaborating with Center Stage Theatre and Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah to create and mount this work. The 500-voice choir will draw from several premiere African American choral ensembles, a children’s choir, vocal ensembles from US military branches, and representatives auditioned and chosen from a selection process and community engagement initiative implemented throughout the region.

Related Websites

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Kronos Quartet


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