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Connecting history and nature

Living History

Living history was a large scale multidisciplinary collaboration that I organized between the national classical music company Groupmuse, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and myself. This “Massivemuse” multi-disciplinary concert explored through music and theatre how both human and natural history are constantly reshaped and celebrated the titanic contributions of several world figures of African descent.Taking place in the beautiful Botswana Diorama Hall as well as the Atrium of the museum, the first part of Living History featured a classical music performance of two Sonatas from 18th Century composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges — one of the most gifted virtuosos of African descent in history. The Chevalier was a contemporary of Mozart, but his riveting story has been largely forgotten. His story and music were accompanied by a special spoken word performance of his life story by Stephen Brackett of the music group Flobots. In the second part of the evening, I — along with a full cast and 7-piece musical ensemble — presented Act I of my new, unproduced musical ‘My Country, My Country,’ centering around the true story of Congolese independence and the Western-led Cold War assassination of one of the greatest politicians in African History: Patrice Lumumba. Finally, adding a unique experiential element, between acts members from the DMNS education department presented zoological and cultural artifacts for attendees to hold, touch and learn about — a rare opportunity most museum-goers don’t experience and we had audience members at to a massive visual timeline to mark periods in their own history that were meaningful to their own family story. It was a year in the making, but incredibly successful. It’s a great representation of my work because it was incredibly interdisciplinary, I was able to incorporate audience stories into the performances, and it also represents how I try to infuse wild imagination and the highlighting of forgotten stories and narratives in all of the work that I do. This was one of the most meaningful events of my career.