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Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra Ode to Understanding

March 31, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

$20 – $60

Ode to Understanding

Opening Hearts and Creating Dialogue

Presented by Leon County Government, the “Ode to Understanding” project brings together the forces of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, The Village Square, the Florida A&M Concert Choir, and the Morehouse College Glee Club to create a profound community event that will open hearts and inspire civil discourse.

Ode to Understanding

On March 31, 2019 the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Leon County Government and The Village Square, will present a stunning concert that features a powerful new musical composition by Joel Thompson titled Seven Last Words of the Unarmed. Written for male chorus and orchestra, the work’s seven movements quote utterances from unarmed black men before they were killed. The movements are as follows:

  • “Why do you have your guns out?” – Kenneth Chamberlain, 66
  • “What are you following me for?” – Trayvon Martin, 16
  • “Mom, I’m going to college.” – Amadou Diallo, 23
  • “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” – Michael Brown, 18
  • “You shot me! You shot me!” – Oscar Grant, 22
  • “It’s not real.” – John Crawford, 22
  • “I can’t breathe.” – Eric Garner, 43

The concert’s second half will present Beethoven’s beloved 9th Symphony, the ultimate expression of humanity, brotherhood, bonding, and equality. Beethoven’s 9th is a life-affirming masterpiece whose joyful message has inspired millions of people worldwide since its premiere in 1824.

The TSO will partner with the Atlanta-based Morehouse College Glee Club and the Concert Choir of Florida A&M University for the performance. We also will enlist community singers to participate in the performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, underscoring the power of community to transcend division.

Community Conversation

Following the first half of the concert, Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil will lead a conversation with composer Joel Thompson and TSO Board Members Byron Greene and Patrick Slevin. Sheriff McNeil will interview these stakeholders about Thompson’s piece of music, the TSO’s decision to program it, and how shared artistic experiences impact the community as a whole.

At the conclusion of the concert, the audience and the performers will be invited to break bread and talk with each other, as we seek to understand the complex issues raised by these human tragedies.

It Takes A Village

Help us make this project happen!

A project of this magnitude takes great resources, both human and financial. Please consider sponsoring this event:

  • $1,000 + contribution – “Platinum” sponsor: Acknowledgement on advertisements and media pieces, Listing in program book/tickets to event, Listing on TSO website.
  • $1,000 contribution – “Gold” sponsor: Listing in program book, 2 VIP tickets to event, Listing on TSO website.
  • $500 contribution – “Silver” Sponsor: Listing in program book, 2 tickets to event.
  • $250 contribution – “Bronze” sponsor: Listing in Program book

In supporting the Ode to Understanding project, you help make this ambitious and meaningful project come to life. Please contact TSO CEO Amanda Stringer at 850.224.0461 to become a sponsor.


March 31, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
$20 – $60
Event Category:


Ruby Diamond Concert Hall
222 S Copeland St.
Tallahassee, FL 32304 United States
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