Thoughts and Prayers
UMBC’s Wind Ensemble teams up with The Sounding Board, Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids students, singer-songwriter Diana Lawrence, Emmy-nominated composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, and other special guests to present an interactive musical event exploring the issue of gun violence. Music, multimedia, and spoken-word serve as catalysts for an interactive discussion with performers and audience members facilitated by Kimberly Moffitt, associate professor and director of the Language, Literacy & cultural doctoral program and affiliate associate professor of Africana Studies at UMBC.
The Sounding Board creates productions that integrate music with multimedia and commentary from noted public figures to inspire new perspectives and cultivate dialogue on today’s most pressing social issues. Performing music from Bach to hip-hop and addressing events from Guantanamo Bay to race issues in America, TSB provides a down and dirty look at current events with live music, special guests, and on-the-spot audience input. Past participants have included Pulitzer-prize winning composer and author Gunther Schuller, genre-bending composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, and luminaries from distinguished institutions including the United Nations, the Boston Mayor’s Office, The Boston Globe, The National Defense University, Tufts’ Fletcher School, Northeastern University and New England Conservatory.
OrchKids is a year-round, during and after school, music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director/OrchKids Founding Director, Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is the cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s community engagement efforts across the city. Founded in 2008 with 30 students at one elementary school – with seed funding from Marin Alsop and Founding Donors Rheda Becker and Robert E. Meyerhoff.
OrchKids now works with ten schools in Baltimore City, serving over 1,600 children from Pre-K through 12th grade. In collaboration with several community partners, including Baltimore City Public Schools, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, academic instruction, meals, as well as performance and mentorship opportunities at no cost to students and families. OrchKids is an acknowledged leader in the El Sistema and social-change through music movement throughout the world and serves as a replicable model for other cities. http://orchkids.org/
Diana Lawrence is a Chicago-based pianist, singer, composer and music director. She has three albums to her name, both solo and with her band, Diana & the Dishes. As a singer/songwriter, Diana has been called a “drop-dead show-stopper” (Music Connection Magazine) and compared to the likes of Ben Folds, Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor (Chicago Sun-Times).
As a composer and music director, her impressive list of credits includes a multi-playwright collaborative musical, Next Stop, performed at the 2013 Garage Rep After-Party; and her more recent musical, Mill Girls, showcased at the 2015 First Look Late Night. Diana also regularly composes for The Second City, a renowned comedy institution, as well as Storycatchers, an organization that helps youth in the juvenile justice system tell their stories through musical theatre. She has also worked as a music director and pianist for organizations such as ComedySportz, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Porchlight Music Theatre, among many others.
Known for her ability to perform a wide variety of musical styles and with performers of all kinds, her work has also included singing for many years with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, regular gigs with jazz combos and pop bands, and improvising as a pianist for theatre, dance, comedy, and performance poetry. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Diana holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan.
Daniel Bernard Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer, performer, educator, and activist spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (NYT), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.
Known for his signature violin sounds infused with myriad electronic, urban, and African-American music influences, DBR takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He is a composer of chamber, orchestral, and operatic works; has won an Emmy for Outstanding Musical Composition for his collaborations with ESPN; featured as keynote performer at technology conferences; and created large scale, site-specific musical events for public spaces. DBR earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan and is currently Institute Professor and Professor of Practice At Arizona State University.
An avid arts industry leader, DBR serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization, and was co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP Conferences.
DBR has most recently created the musical score for The Just and The Blind, a collaboration with spoken word artist and writer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, commissioned by Carnegie Hall; and a new work for Washington State University’s Symphonic Band, Falling Black Into The Sky, based on the work of the artist James Turrell and his “light work” at Roden Crater. DBR is currently creating Cipher, a new pocket opera for the Philadelphia Boys Choir, with a libretto by Joseph, based on the incarceration of young, Black boys. More info at
The UMBC Wind Ensemble has given performances with internationally celebrated guest artists including Glee pianist and music director Brad Ellis, Emmy-nominated composer and genre-bending violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, The American Brass Quintet, Canadian Brass veteran Joe Burgstaller, international tuba artist Oystein Baadsvik, Cleveland Orchestra trombonist Shachar Israel, Marine Band co-principal oboe Trevor Mowry, former Marine Band clarinetist Randall Riffle, and UMBC Professor of Violin Airi Yoshioka. The ensemble seeks to regularly perform music by living composers; the group recently recorded its debut album, which includes music the ensemble has premiered by Brad Ellis, Daniel Bernard Roumain, UMBC composition faculty Anna Rubin and Janice Macaulay, and 2016 American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award finalist and UMBC alum Samuel Winnie.
Kimberly R. Moffitt is associate professor and director of the LLC Doctoral Program and affiliate associate professor of Africana Studies. Her teaching interests include culture, media studies/criticism, Black hair and body politics, sports and media, and popular culture. Dr. Moffitt’s research focuses on mediated representations of marginalized groups as well as the politicized nature of Black hair and the body.
She has published four co-edited volumes, including Gladiators in Suits: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal (Syracuse University Press, 2019), Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair and Body Politics in Africana Communities (Hampton Press, 2010), The Obama Effect: Multidisciplinary Renderings of the 2008 Campaign (SUNY Press, 2010) and The 1980s: A Transitional Decade? (Lexington Books, 2011). She has a forthcoming volume exploring the legacy of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Additionally, Moffitt has also published her work in academic journals and several edited volumes. Her current research projects continue to explore the black body such as her work exploring white femininity in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and the representations of Black males on Disney television programming. She extends her research interests into the community by offering workshops on Black hair and body politics as it relates to bullying among middle school girls.
Dr. Moffitt often writes op-ed articles for the Baltimore Sun and is a frequent guest on local public radio and Internet broadcasting programs. She is a member of the public service sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the founding parent and former board member of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys Charter School, a 4th-8th college preparatory school.
Admission is free and open to the public.
Plan your visit
UMBC is located about 10 minutes south of the Inner Harbor along I-95. For this event, free visitor parking is available in Lot 8, directly adjacent to the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, where the entrance to the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall is located on the second floor.
This program is funded in part by a UMBC Charlesmead Arts Initiative Award.
Photo by Jesse Lee Weiner.