June 5, 2020
Dear Odyssey Families and Friends,
Thank you for joining us in Season 16. I hope you enjoyed Vox Nova’s performances on video, posted on our website last weekend. As we officially wrap up this season, we look forward to hopefully seeing you in the fall.
As many of you are aware, the recent health crisis has placed racial and socioeconomic inequity in the spotlight. The COVID-19 pandemic has been decimating Native Americans, as well as countless Americans of all colors – but notably African Americans.
To add to this stress, Ahmaud Arbery was killed while he was jogging in February. In March, Breonna Taylor was shot, and 10 days ago, George Floyd was murdered. That same Memorial weekend, Chris Cooper was threatened by a white woman. Unfortunately, we also know these racially based events were not isolated, yet again prompting a cry for help, #BlackLivesMatter.
Odyssey acknowledges the great anguish felt by many, but especially those within the black community.
We are thankful for the amazing collaborations Odyssey enjoyed in recent years with Marques Jerrell Ruff and his friends, and with Wontanara. Tears and laughter were shared first at the Second Missionary Baptist Church, and a year later at the First Baptist Church. Everyone, adults and children alike, was inspired by these exchanges of culture and music.
As the topic of racism takes center stage, I believe music has an important role to play in healing our society. We recognize the systems that exclude people of color from classical music training and opportunities. Odyssey is committed to doing the work to improve for all of its constituents. To start, we will present more diverse and inclusive programming of underrepresented composers beginning next season. Odyssey remains dedicated to being a multi-cultural, multi-racial organization of performers, audience and programming.
In these difficult times, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at info@OdysseyMissouri.org.
Ayako Tsuruta, Odyssey Executive and Artistic Director
and the Odyssey Board