A moving piece of live music interspersed with audiovisuals about the homeless will be presented Nov. 2 by the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans along with Delgado Community College Chorus, a 10-piece chamber orchestra and students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart (ASH). This benefit concert for the local homeless will be at the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans.
Steven Edwards, music director of the Symphony Chorus, said the musical “Street Requiem” was written about homelessness by Andy Payne and fellow Australians Kathleen McGuire and Jonathon Welch and first performed in 2014 in Australia only with a piano.
The piece was adapted in 2016 to include the Latin Requiem along with hymns and newly composed songs performed by a full orchestra, he said.
When Edwards discovered it, he knew he had to stage it, considering the orchestra’s quest to address social issues in its performances.
Edwards said the piece contains musical fragments of the Latin Mass and has the “Ubi Caritas” hymn and “Kyrie Eleison.” It begins with the acknowledgment of the native Chitimacha people of Australia and has a call to prayer sung in Persian and “new text interwoven with the Latin,” he said.
Other parts of the production include the New Orleans-themed song “Big Easy on My Mind”; a 10-minute piece about homelessness called “Hard Shoulders” by Stephen Hatfield; the Moses Hogan piece, “I Am His Child”; and Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.”
With audiovisuals, including photos of the homeless shot by Sacred Heart physics teacher Frank Coco and testimonials from homeless individuals, this piece should attract a broader audience than the usual attendees of classical concerts. Names of those who have died on New Orleans streets this past year also will be shown during the performance. Any proceeds will benefit Ozanam Inn and Hotel Hope.
“This is really exciting,” Edwards said. “We are offering our audience something that has production value beyond the music. We are delighted to have partnered with Sacred Heart. They are producing what we are putting on stage.”
“This will be a great experience for you,” media arts teacher Mary Lane told the girls during a pre-production meeting led by writer, producer and director Steve Scaffidi, owner of Ghost Rider Pictures (ghostriderpictures.com). Scaffidi is producer of the live “Street Requiem” and will help the students produce a good video of the event as a learning experience.
Lane’s digital graphics/multi-media class is involved in filming “Street Requiem” as their final exam. The course is an elective at Sacred Heart in which students produce a weekly current-events show called “News Flash.” In this class, they learn to plan and conduct interviews, be reporters and news anchors, operate digital cameras for video and still photography and edit what they shoot.
Filming “Street Requiem” presents a dimension of broadcasting they are unfamiliar with – a live performance. Their weekly broadcasts primarily use pre-taped interviews, Lane said.
“Miss Lane wanted us to have something in the real world to go along what we are learning in the classroom,” sophomore Clare Larson said.
Students will be camera operators, producers, technical directors, lighting operators and editors, using three to four cameras during the production. Lane also said students will learn to use a TriCaster to create a multi-camera platform that allows coordination of shots from different cameras at different angles.
“We will be recording it through the TriCaster and the cameras,” Lane said. “It will be a neat opportunity for them to use skills they are learning in the classroom.”
Lane said this will be “more of a tech opportunity – more like a theatrical performance, using camera skills and taking that camera live,” Lane said. “This gives them another skill to have, an outside experience that they are really excited to be a part of. … We want them to be able to have that hands-on experience.”
Edwards believes recording the event will be of value to all parties involved in the project.
“Just that it exists is an educational tool for everybody, including Sacred Heart, that they can say, ‘Look what our girls did.’”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.
- WHAT: A live musical performance with audiovisuals about homelessness with testimonies from homeless individuals to benefit Ozanam Inn and Hotel Hope.
- WHEN: Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m.
- WHERE: Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans
- TICKETS: $25 at door; $15 groups of 5 or more in advance at SymphonyChorus.org.