“A Gathering of Sons” opera featured during 7th Annual African American Celebration of the Arts at Ryan Arts & Culture Center

Another black man is shot by a white police officer, and we ask what comes next? How do we heal?

How do we protect our children? How do we survive this state, this country, this world?

In the winter of 2015, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh commissioned a new opera as part of an ongoing series called “Music That Matters.” This new piece is called “A Gathering of Sons” and segments of the opera will be performed on Sunday, Feb. 12 at Ryan Arts and Culture Center as part of their February African American Celebration of the Arts. The opera will be followed by a talkback with the performers, members of the creative team, as well as some selected panelists. Programming runs from 1 – 6 p.m. and includes performances from Trevor C. Dance Collective and DJ SMI – Afroheat.

“A Gathering of Sons” takes the audience on a journey through the lives of a young black man, a white police officer, a pair of black parents, and a collection of spirits who watch over the world. The words express an experience of both loss and gain and an understanding of the beautiful life flowing within all of us. It is a confrontation with history and the way it breathes through the present. It is a conversation on our biases, and how we heal after tragedy. It is an eye towards freedom, and the work we need to reach it. It is full of magic. It is full of fear. It is full of hope, of pain, and still, an even more powerful love.

Other February festival events at the Ryan Arts and Culture Center include:

  • A youth event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 features an immersive theater workshop with Jill Jeffrey of Gemini Children’s Theater allowing youth to create and perform their own mini-plays. The event includes face painting activities, poetry writing and numerous vendors on site (AVON, local handmade jewelry, pottery and more). Guest speaker is Strong Ambitious Women LLC‘s Lashawn Reed, who will hold a letter writing workshop.
  • Throughout the month, work by various local artists also will be on display in the gallery.

Father Ryan Arts Center
420 Chartiers Avenue
McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Sponsors: RAD and Ohio Valley Hospital