Cultured Missourians expecting a quiet night at the symphony were in for something of a shock, to say the least.
As the mostly white audience of concert-goers nestled into their seats and prepared to listen to the St. Louis Symphony’s rendition of Brahms’ ‘Ein deutsches Requiem’, two audience members in an act of civil objection rose from their seats and began to loudly chant a ballad of protest.
“Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all/Which side are you on friend?/Which side are you on?”
Soon after, a chorus of other members joined in from the balcony, followed closely behind by other members smattered throughout the commodious auditorium. Hoping to stir empathetic reactions for Michael Brown and his family among the audience, the group began unfurling large placards that boldly read, “Mike Brown 1996-2014,” and “Racism lives here.” Despite the affecting nature of this display, the prevailing emotion shared amongst the confused crowd seemed to be that of irritation. One man was recorded as saying, “He was a thug.”
Tensions have been on high in and around Ferguson, since the unarmed shooting of Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson nearly two months ago. This week emotions flared yet again after an off-duty police officer shot and killed Vonderrick Myers, a black teenager who police maintain was brandishing a weapon at the time and fired a shot at the officer first. The incident occurred Wednesday night, with initial reports offering conflicting information as to whether or not Meyers was actually armed.
According to CNN, the group behind the flash-mob style concert came up with the idea after being arrested from a St. Louis Cardinal’s game for pulling a similar stunt. One member saying afterwards, “We probably need a different venue.”
In need of singers, the group put the word out through social media and reportedly rehearsed a full three times before heading to the venue. After finishing up, the audience was littered with red hearts whose surface was printed with information on how to help the cause. The offending protesters left peacefully shortly thereafter as impressed musicians applauded them from the stage. As they walked through the exit, the acoustics from the chant “Black Lives Matter,” rang through the walls with abandon.