Nebraska Artists Premiere selections from Martin Rokeach’s Oratorio: ‘Bodies on the Line: The Great Flint Sit-Down Strike” for the Oakland Symphony Gala with Maestro Michael Morgan.
Nebraska artists, Stacie Haneline, Dr. Derrick Fox, Baritone; Dr. Sharon Campbell, mezzo-soprano; and Taylor Stayton, tenor premiered selections from Martin Rokeach’s Oratorio, “Bodies on the Line: The Great Flint Sit-Down Strike” commissioned by the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Michael Morgan expressed his support and commitment for advocacy for those who are margilinized and underrepresented in this extraordinary musical work which focuses on the first ‘sit-down’ strike in Flint, Michigan on Dec. 30th, 1936. Three thousand autoworkers occupied several General Motors plants for forty-four days in extreme temperatures. Their victory marked a new era in American history.
Over 95% of the oratorio’s libretto comes from historical records. General Motors President Alfred P. Sloan and Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and first woman to ever serve as a cabinet secretary, give true accounts through records of the tension between those who despised the strikers and Frances Perkins, a forgotten hero and real architect of the New Deal which changed the country and workers forever.
The Nebraska artists who premiered selections from the Oratorio worked virtually with both the composer, Martin Rokeach and director, Rebecca Engle. The artists were met with great adulation by the symphony members, Executive Committee, special VIP guests (including family members of strikers in Flint, Michigan) and Maestro Michael Morgan.
Rokeach plans to travel to NE to work with the artists while finishing the orchestral score for the world premiere next year with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra.