Reflections on the BloomBars benefit concert for Duke Ellington Theatre Department

Greetings Bloom Community,

My name is Sam Sherman and I am a 9th grader at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Recently, BloomBars hosted a benefit concert for our Theatre Department. I not only attended the benefit but was a part of the main act. In it I performed three monologues and three readings from a variety of playwrights, poets, and public speakers, from William Inge, to Maya Angelou, to Martin Luther King Jr. Each performance was responded to through a piece of music. Credit for the job of creating a “dialogue” is to be given to the The Columbia Players and Boat Burning, two incredible musical groups who used their music to respond to each piece through both improvisation and composed works.

The benefit was a success (Hurrah)! We raised a few hundred dollars and the audience enjoyed the show. As always, I was a little nervous when I first went on, but the tension eventually eased up. Something that was really cool for me was performing excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech. As it happens, it was not my first time performing the piece. I’d performed it with my dad back in 2008, five LONG years ago.

Much has happened since then. Barack Obama became president of the U.S.A, the war in Iraq ended, we’ve gone through a great recession, Obama won a second term… Anyway, we were all there. We know. The point is that, when I picked up MLK’s speech this time and read it to the audience, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. It made me look back and see how much I’d grown…like two feet…just kidding. But seriously, so much has changed in our country and our world, and it makes me excited for that bright morning dawning, to paraphrase Maya Angelou’s poem, “On the Pulse of Morning.”

Thanks to Bloombars, the Columbia Players, Boat Burning and the Ellington Theatre Department for supporting this effort!

Sam Sherman