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The Red, White and Blues

An evening of diverse and inclusive orchestral music to spark dialogues on voting rights and promote greater civic engagement.



Join us for “Sick and Tired,” a live community reading of Fannie Lou Hamer’s 1964 speech. Featuring musical improvisation by bassoonist Monica Ellis, a discussion on women of color as artists and activists with musicologists Dr. Ashley Jackson and Melanie Zeck, and an interview with Donita Judge, Associate Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Hosted by Jasmine Wilson. Monday, August 31st, 2020, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM EST.

Please be advised, this community reading contains abrasive language and sensitive subject matter including descriptions of sexual violence. This community reading will not be viewable through an open livestream, but will only be viewed through a private link provided after event RSVP. The Dream Unfinished Orchestra and affiliated organizations advise that children below the ages of 13 should not attend. Prior to attendance, please visit this link for more information about Fannie Lou Hamer and her speech.

To register, please click here!


Activist orchestra The Dream Unfinished‘s 2020 orchestral concert The Red, White and Blues will use classical music to spark dialogues on voting rights and voter suppression, and promote greater civic engagement in NYC.

The history of racially motivated voter suppression efforts will be reflected in music by Native-American composer Juantio Becenti and Black composer David Baker; disenfranchisement of incarcerated populations will be represented in music by the Chevalier de St-Georges – an Afro-French composer imprisoned in the aftermath of the French Revolution; and the voting record of women of color will be presented through female composers of color such as Jessie Montgomery. A live recording of the performance will be produced by audio engineer Zach Herchen, and this performance will promote music of underrepresented composers, and also provide archival recordings that will be shared to other presenting organizations who prioritize programming music by composers of color.

The performance will include opportunities for attendees to register to vote, learn about local ballot initiatives, and feature speakers from civil rights organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, who will inform audiences on how they can become further involved in promoting voting rights for all communities. The Red, White and Blues is intended to coincide with the 2020 elections, and while it will not be used as a platform for any campaigning officials, it is meant to spark greater civic engagement in a critical year for federal and local elections.


Helga Davis: Star Spangled Banner
Jessie Montgomery: Banner
Chevalier de St-Georges: Symphonies Concertantes Op. 13, No. 1 *NY Premiere
Juantio Becenti: Excerpts from The Forest At Dawn
David Baker: Some Not So Plain Old Blues *NY Premiere, First Recording

FEATURED GUEST ARTISTS in alphabetical order
Helga Davis, vocalist
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violinist
Vimbayi Kaziboni, conductor
Rachel Barton Pine, violinist
Terrance McKnight, host

Confirmed media partner: WQXR

About The Dream Unfinished
Since 2015, The Dream Unfinished has staged performances throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and partnered with organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Women’s Blueprint, African American Policy Forum, and others. Past seasons have centered on police brutality, the #SayHerName movement, the current immigration crisis, and environmental justice. The Dream Unfinished has people of color in the orchestra, in the music, behind the scenes, and in the audiences. We are an orchestra that looks and sounds like New York City, and through music, explores pressing issues which are affecting our communities.

Project Media

Trevor Weston: Flying Fish, Mvt. 1
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The Dream Unfinished premiered a new orchestration of Trevor Weston’s Flying Fish as a part of its 2019 performance, Deep River. Deep River centered environmental justice through the music of composers who hail from communities impacted by climate change and other environmental issues. Mr. Weston’s work was inspired by his Barbadian-American roots, and his piece was included to point to the devastating impact of climate change on the Greater Caribbean.
Date: 7/11/19
Venue: New York Society for Ethical Culture
Conductor: Vimbayi Kaziboni

Zenobia Powell Perry: Narrative, Mvt. 1
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The Dream Unfinished performed the NY premiere of Narrative in its 2019 performance, Deep River. Narrative was composed in the aftermath of a historic tornado that swept through Central State University, the HBCU where Ms. Perry served as composer-in-residence. This piece was selected to highlight how many under-served communities of color become further compromised in recovering from natural disasters.
Date: 7/11/19
Venue: New York Society for Ethical Culture
Conductor: Vimbayi Kaziboni

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

Project Created By

New York, New York

In Collaboration With

New York City, New York
audio engineer


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