Patrons of the St. Louis Symphony witnessed a bonus performance Saturday night, when a flash mob of Ferguson protesters began belting the civil rights strain “Which Side Are You On?”.
On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police, and the facts surrounding the incident created civil unrest in the St. Louis suburb as citizens cried out that the justice system was racist.
Two months later, (last Saturday night) upon return from intermission, as musicians and attendees alike settled into place to continue the night’s second half the the performance of Johannes Brahms’ Requiem, two of the audience’s own rose and began singing.
Amongst the bemused audience, more protestors stood in waves and joined in chorus, both on the main level and in the balcony where banners were unfurled reading: “Racism Lives Here” (depicting a large arrow pointing down at a profile of the cityscape) and “Requiem for Michael Brown 1996-2014”.
As the message of the protest began unfolding before the shocked audience, the emboldened singers added a new line to the civil rights song, “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all” and added clapping to get the audience and musicians to applaud the cause.
As the song gave way to the exit chant of “Black lives matter”, paper hearts were rained down to the scrupulous audience that were printed with “Requiem for Michael Brown, May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014”.
And with that, the chanting protestors left the building to a thundering applause by those that approved (and glares from those that didn’t) as the symphony continued with the night’s scheduled performance.
When asked for comment, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra publicist Erika Ebsworth-Goold stated that the protesters were paying members of the audience and that they had left the building peacefully.
H/T: Raw Story