Surprisingly Sumptuous Celebration

Last night’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra A King Celebration Concert was not quite what I thought it would be in 5 distinct ways: 1) musical selection & 2) performance, 3) conductor persuasion, 4) speaker comments and 5) sponsor visibility.

I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of Hip-Hop Essay No. 2 for Orchestra, a rousing arrangement by Haitian composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, whose suggestion we didn’t heed – to not sit still & listen but DANCE & MOVE! This Hip-Hop piece was part of a primarily instrumental program, powerfully performed, but I’d hoped for a more significant serving of the Morehouse & Spelman Glee Clubs’ vocals. Alas, I savored the demitasse-sided sweetness of their melodious voices and appreciated them all the more for their small but significant part in the program.

The four speakers were sprinkled strategically among the musical pieces; Juanita Abernathy alluded to the fact that MLK’s legacy afforded the audience exposure to the outstanding skills of African-American conductor Chelsea Tipton, II. She, Christine Farris & Andrew Young told little known stories about their friend, brother & colleague, generously sharing intimate perspectives of the MAN vs. the ICON: his tastes in food, sense of humor & fearful moments not often discussed. My fab sister Lisa Borders provided inspirational, historic and appreciative flavors in perfect measure for the occasion.

Finally, I was caught slightly off-guard by the presence of a giant Target banner across the foot of the chapel’s stage, the large logo looming before those in the 1st few rows. I am consistently pleasantly surprised that Target is behaving not so much like what we might expect from a big-box retailer, e.g., Walmart, but seems committed to orchestrating itself into the cornucopia of the Atlanta community with its sponsorships & even store design – A King Celebration Concert buy one $25 ticket, get one free, Target Family Day @ the High Museum, coolly green-spaced Target in Live/Work/Play Atlantic Station. I’ll talk more about this last one later, but here’s my question for you: when your experiences don’t match your expectations, are you typically frustrated or pleasantly surprised, open to the possibility of something better or wedded to your perhaps limited vision of what could be? Hmmmm…


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