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Seattle Symphony: Music Evokes The Uncertainty, Hope Of Seattle Homeless

Photo courtesy of Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony musician Michael Werner demonstrates the timpani to Path With Art students

Imagine what it would be like to find yourself without a roof over your head. It’s not easy to put yourself in those shoes. But what if you could experience homelessness by hearing and feeling it in music — the uncertainty and trauma, the hope, and the question of how to solve it?

A free concert on Wednesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall ferries us along this journey. 

There are several amazing things about the music from "We Are All Here," part of a year-long community art project presented by Path With Art and the Seattle Symphony. It was composed by a group of adult students, some of whom had no prior musical experience, and of whom are experiencing homelessness, addiction or other trauma.  Working with Seattle Symphony musicians – these students crafted this piece in only 12 short weeks. 

On Wednesday night,  they will perform it - right alongside the symphony's chamber ensemble.

“The first section is really starting from a place that’s a little darker, and the way the students represent that is by a building storm,” said Laura Reynolds, director of education and community engagement for the Seattle Symphony. 

When you listen to this part of the concert, you can hear the anxiety building.

"You can hear the little pitter patters of percussion instruments, and a roll of the timpani," said Reynolds.

Later, as sounds from rainsticks reach a crescendo, strings come in, signifying hope.  

"I think that’s the power of making music and creating art, is that it allows people to really see themselves differently and not define themselves by the current circumstance but really the potential that they have inside of them,” said Reynolds.

As the piece comes to a close, it ends in a sort of musical question mark, leaving the audience to reflect on the ways a community might come together to end homelessness.  

The music is inspired by poetry and visual art created by students who participated in the "We Are All Here" project over the last year.  The project also fits in nicely with Seattle Symphony's Simple Gifts initiative which seeks to raise awareness of homelessness by forging a deeper connection between musicians and the homeless community, through service projects and performances.