Members of the Yale choral music community will band together on Tuesday evening to perform a benefit concert for the national nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety.
The concert — organized by Joseph Kemper MUS ’18, a choral conducting student in the Institute of Sacred Music, and James Reese MUS ’18, a tenor in ISM’s early music voice program — will take place in the Yale Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel at 7:30 p.m. The concert will feature a wide range of musical styles and include a performance of “Jepthe,” an oratorio by 17th-century Italian composer Giacomo Carissimi. The funds raised through the event will be split between Everytown for Gun Safety and one of its constituent organizations, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“I think that the mission of the organization — to bring communities together to end gun violence and build safer communities — is something everyone can agree with regardless of politics,” Kemper said.
Kemper said he was studying “Jepthe” when he decided to organize a benefit concert to raise money for gun safety. The oratorio follows the Old Testament story in which Jepthe vows to sacrifice the next person who exits his home in exchange for victory in battle. The story becomes what Kemper described as a “tragic tale of loss” when the next person to leave the house is Jepthe’s own daughter.
Along with this oratorio, the program will feature music in more familiar genres. For example, the concert includes Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” as well as melodies by artists like U2 and Kendrick Lamar. The concert will also include readings from students in the Divinity School.
Both Kemper and Reese emphasized the variety of music in the program, which they said draws from works that are old and new, sacred and secular. These program choices, they said, will allow attendees to draw connections across eras and cultures.
“This is one of the last things we are doing at Yale,” Kemper said. “We’re bringing together the talent and the privilege of resources here to raise money and create a place of peace, remembrance and hope.”
Reese noted that the concert can serve as an opportunity to provide a space for attendees to “reflect and become inspired to do something proactive about the problem of this moment.”
Reese added that the concert does not advocate for a specific set of policies, but rather supports Everytown for Gun Safety’s broader approach to the issue. He said that two goals of the project are to “provide a meditative space” at the concert and to “drive people to be active and donate” in the days leading up to the event.
The concert will conclude with Stephen Paulus’ “Hymn to the Eternal Flame,” which Kemper said focuses on the death of children through a poem of remembrance.
With this conclusion, Kemper said the concert will “end in remembrance” — after the final notes of “Hymn to the Eternal Flame,” audience members will be asked to hold applause and leave the chapel silently when they are ready.
“It’s an incredibly important event because, whatever your political views, I think we can all agree that the safety of children is something every American should care about and want to ensure,” said baritone Edward Vogel MUS ’19.
Everytown for Gun Safety was founded in 2014.
Julia Carabatsos | firstname.lastname@example.org