Pine Bluff singers will be among participants at the “Common Hopes” performance at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at Little Rock at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Singers from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Little Rock Central High School, Arkansas Baptist College and Hendrix College will sing in the celebration.
“The ‘Common Hopes’ performance is presented to give the Central Arkansas community a chance to reflect on recent events and leave the evening inspired to be agents of peace and love in their communities,” Tim Allen, St. Mark’s organist and choirmaster, said in a news release.
One particular point of interest in the concert will be a performance of Down Deep, written by Dominick DiOrio, of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the 2014 winner of the American Prize in Composition. Down Deep will be performed by the Hendrix Choir.
DiOrio was commissioned by Hendrix College Choir Director Andrew Morgan to write a piece of music dedicated to the choir. During research, DiOrio discovered an article about the Little Rock Nine, the group of young black students who were met with resistance as they tried to enter the formerly all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
“I had read about desegregation in the south in my history classes, but it was not until I encountered the words of the Little Rock Nine that I truly began to attempt to understand this history through the eyes of those who lived it,” he said in the release.
DiOrio wrote “Down Deep” as a libretto, based on the words of four of the women of the Little Rock Nine and also from those of the late U.S. District Judge Henry Woods, who presided in cases relating to the Pulaski County desegregation efforts in the 1980s, according to the release.
“I wrote ‘Down Deep’ to add my voice for positive change to the voices of people affected by violence and oppression – and to honor the courage of the Little Rock Nine ... may they continue to inspire all of us as we look into our future for the strength to endure the struggles to come,” DiOrio said.