by Jarrett Hoffman
“We’ve heard this story before,” tenor Matt Jones said during a recent telephone conversation. We had been talking about the cartoon caricature of tennis star Serena Williams that was published in the Herald Sun of Australia last fall, and was widely seen as racist. “I’m glad that we’re still talking about these things and why they happen.”
Jones will join soprano Kristine Caswelch and pianist Nicole Keller at Trinity Cathedral next Wednesday, February 27 at 12:00 pm for a BrownBag Concert conceived in response to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. That 2014 finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry has been described as “an anatomy of American racism in the new millennium” (Parul Sehgal, Bookforum). A second performance takes place on Sunday, March 24 at 2:00 pm at the Main Branch of Lakewood Public Library.
Some quick background on the program: it’s the result of a web of partnerships among two local organizations, Music and Art at Trinity and the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL), one regional, Arts Midwest, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). CAL was selected to host one of this year’s NEA Big Read programs, in which a series of events are planned around a book, with the purpose of broadening people’s understanding of the world, their community, and themselves.