The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre bring something good tonight -- a concert to honor those who have lost their lives to racial violence and injustice.
The Nov. 11 concert is a fundraiser for Project Unity, an organization founded by Pastor Richie Butler of St. Paul United Methodist Church. Project Unity works to unify Dallas by implementing community-building programs to help heal race relationships between law enforcement and Dallas citizens, as well as other community programs. The DSO and Project Unity partnered in 2019 for the inspiring Gospel Goes Classical concert.
“The events of recent months have been devastating and painful. We have reflected on how we as an organization can respond, and, with the magnitude of the crisis, we have more questions than answers,” Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, said in a news release. “How can we take a leadership role as an arts organization and respond in a meaningful way? How can we expand the DSO's inclusivity on every level, and what can we do to build consensus to move forward to unite people of different backgrounds, races and ethnicities? As a first step, this concert will use music to unite and heal and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and deserved to be honored on a national level.”
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Mason was in elementary school in Dallas, barely 10 years old, the son of a single mom, when he discovered classical music on his own while listening to the radio. The variety and creativity inspired him.
"It got me really to see if I could create something of my own like that. And so I started playing instruments in elementary school. I was in elementary school when I started playing piano. And then, not long after that, I started playing cello. And then not long after that, I started composing my own music. And this was all still while I was 10 or 11. So I was very young," Mason said.
Mason took lessons, found mentors and immersed himself in his passion.
He composes, conducts, writes, and "at just 24, Mason is one of the most sought-after young composers in the country," wrote Texas Monthly.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra called on him again for its concert to honor lives lost to racial violence and injustice.
"This is the second time they've commissioned me. And looking at the times we're living in, it's a very tumultuous time but it's also a time of uplifting and looking ahead and that things will get better," Mason explained.
The piece called 'Reflection on a Memorial" is Mason's observations put to music, a piece he hopes carries a strong message.
"I'm not gonna spoil the ending for you. You're gonna have to hear it or livestream it," Mason said. "I'm fairly confident that I said something very, very powerful with this piece."
Mason's own story, in fact, says something very powerful about listening to an inner voice guiding us to a life in tune with its purpose.
"I have a vision that I will be a role model to other young African American kids who want to make a career in classical music. My message is, you can do this and you can feel comfortable doing it, like me," Mason said.
Tickets to the concert either in person or streaming are still available through the Dallas Symphony Orchestra website.