Sound Off: Music for Bail presents Our Anthem: An Orchestral Activation


Bringing together an ensemble of 19 musicians, string quartet soloists, and conductor Christina Morris, Sound Off: Music for Bail presents “Our Anthem: An Orchestral Awakening”, an evening of music and discussion at the Church of the Village (201 W 13th St.) in collaboration with queer liberation organization Black and Pink NYC on April 5, 2024 at 7 PM. Featured speaker Jennifer Love Williams of Black and Pink NYC will speak about community advocacy, decarceration, and the need to support re-entering citizens. In addition, Black and Pink NYC will lead audience members in a pre-show letter-writing event starting at 6 PM, connecting them to currently incarcerated queer individuals in need of support.

In choosing the works and composers for this concert, Sound Off sought to address the question: What does a national anthem mean for people historically treated as second-class citizens? Beginning with an original arrangement of J. Rosamund Johnson’s Lift Every Voice and Sing, commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem, the program explores the interlocking history of US racial policies and Black musical traditions through three leading American composers: Jessie Montgomery (Banner), Michael Abels (Delights and Dances), and Frederick Tillis, whose Niger Symphony will be receiving its NYC premiere.

Proceeds from this concert directly supports musicians and speakers. Free tickets and livestream accessibility will be available at request to remove financial and physical barriers to attendance.


Justus Ross, violin soloist
Josh Henderson, violin soloist
Kayla Williams, viola soloist
Angelique Montes, cello
Christina Morris, conductor

J. Rosamond Johnson — Lift Every Voice and Sing (arr. Jay Julio)
Jessie Montgomery — Banner
Michael Abels — Delights and Dances
Frederick C. Tillis — Niger Symphony (NYC premiere)