Come Let Us Gather Together, the benefit concert on Sept. 13 in honor of the families of Columbia students, faculty, and staff who survived Hurricane Katrina, was a wonderful example of work that is intercultural, interfaith and spiritual. The response from artists and performers in the Columbia community was overwhelming. George Lewis, professor of music, headlined the evening. He offered an improvisational piece in which he encouraged members of the audience to reflect on simple sound by playing long, slow notes -- and then moving the listeners into more complicated phrasing, fully incorporating the mood of the evening, the space and sound of St. Paul's Chapel into his performance.
More than 55 student musicians/artists gave generously of their time and talent for the event, creating a musical extravaganza that included music from the following American traditions: classical, jazz, cantorial, gospel, a cappella, folk, and spoken word. The Bach Society, Pizmon, Chris Mueller and the Metrotones were among the performers.
Chaplain Jewelnel Davis's opening address, offered the following words to reflect on: "We must face the divide in this country defined by class and race. We must face the violence of structural poverty; the brutal edge of the color line."
Each act enthralled the audience of more than 70 and each musical contribution was a significant display of experience and accomplished talent .The abundance of offerings resulted in a program that began at 8 p.m. and continued until 11. The Chapel remained open until midnight for silence, prayer and meditation.
The event was sponsored by the Office of the University Chaplain, the Music Performance Program, CU Relief, and Columbia/Barnard Hillel. The concert raised more than $400 for the university- established fund to assist families of Columbia students, faculty and staff who are in distress as a result of the hurricane.