A Week of Music and Justice
Music and Justice was the inaugural concert and conference for the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience. The three-day event featured jazz royalty, up-and-coming stars, students from The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and scholars from across the country.
Royce Hall seated over one thousand people on Feb. 26 to witness the Music and Justice concert. Another 1,200 watched the concert via livestream.
Contemporary composers led off the first half of the concert, including two new world premieres by UCLA faculty Arturo O’Farrill and Diane White-Clayton. O’Farrill’s soaring “I Dream a World…” transported the audience with transcendent vocals and a powerful jazz undercurrent carried by strings and piano. Diane White-Clayton’s Dear Freedom Rider featured thirteen UCLA students. Letters written by the students to freedom riders. The music had a visceral punch, a perennial reminder that the present generation always owes a debt of gratitude to the people of courage who have come before, and helped pave the way.
“The Gates of Justice,” Dave Brubeck’s epic cantata, took up the second half of the concert. The Brubecks (Chris, Dan, and Darius) were on stage performing their father’s work, for the first time together. They were joined by Azi Schwartz, Phillip Bullock, and a host of UCLA students.
A day-long conference on Monday, Feb. 27 brought together artists, critics, and scholars to keep the conversation going.
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Holman United Methodist Church hosted a second performance of the Music and Justice concert at its historic location on west Adams Street. The Rev. Ken James Walden, the senior pastor of Holman UMC, welcomed UCLA musicians and the Brubecks for an outstanding repeat performance. In attendance were luminaries of the Holman congregation, including Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, Ambassador Charles Richard Stith and his wife, Deborah Prothrow-Stith, dean of the Charles Drew School of Medicine, and Peggy Trotter Drammond Preacely, a civil rights activist, poet, and early freedom rider.
The Brubecks arrival on campus was not just to participate in the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience. They visited classrooms, gave a masterclass, and, of course, rehearsed with the students.