Hold On, America, Hold On! Reactions

After the death of George Floyd in May of 2020, music educator and singer Gerald Case-Blanchard recorded a heartfelt, honest reaction to the injustice. His message to America: we must do better, and to do that we need to come together. He ended the recording with the haunting refrain, “hold on” from one of his favorite spirituals, “Keep Your Hand On the Plow.” Case-Blanchard could not have known that the short recording from his living room would spark a groundbreaking performance by the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra almost two years later.

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Hold On, America, Hold On!

The music community illuminates issues facing African Americans today and explores Black history. On the morning after the murder of George Floyd, Anne Harrigan, the artistic director of the Music Center and conductor of the Battle Creek Symphony, decided to go out for a coffee in her Grand Rapids neighborhood only to find one of her favorite coffee shops boarded up. She knew protests were sweeping across the city, but the stark reality of those wooden windows stunned her.

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Music Speaks Through the Battle Creek Symphony

In operation since 1899, the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra (BCSO) represents the longest continuously performing orchestra in Michigan. With deep roots in Battle Creek and the surrounding area for the past 123 years, the BCSO has some of the highest quality symphonic traditions to be found.

Let’s take a look at the history of the BCSO, how it coped with the challenges of the past year, and what lies ahead for the 2021-2022 season.

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Music and Mental Health

Music has the power to soothe, excite, calm and comfort us. Whether tied to a tender moment, the joy of playing an instrument, or the excitement of a concert—music often goes hand-in-hand with some of our most impactful memories. A group bonding experience or individually meditative moment spent with music can act as a bridge to better wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

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Live, from Battle Creek!

Community Music School

Ever since the formation of The Music Center in 2000, we’ve been passionate about building community through music. The Music Center is a unique combination of music arts and programs created to enhance the lives of children and adults of all ages and talent levels. Although the past year and a half has been full of challenges, our mission remains the same. If anything, we’ve learned more about the incredible power of music to unite a community through unprecedented times.

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