Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

The Story Behind Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Flash Mob Performance

Photo: Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Yesterday the Memphis Symphony Orchestra hosted a flash mob in the new midtown Kroger where they performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

We reached out to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Director of Operations, Spencer Blank who told us:

The Principal Conductor, Robert Moody, had this idea of a flash mob with the Symphony Chorus which is a combination of the UofM University Singers conducted by Larry Edwards and the Memphis Symphony Chorus which just turned 50 last year. We knew this would be a tough week regardless of the outcome from Tuesday. Robert decided upon Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for its simple but poignant message. As we were beginning rehearsals we heard about Leonard Cohen’s passing. It’s as if we were his final “welcoming home”.

The MSO has been up and down in recent years and almost closed in 2014 due to lack of funding. Symphonies and art organizations in general have been struggling to stay open and are trying to find their footing and funding. Now, the MSO is trying something new and calling it a “rebuilding community capital”.

It doesn’t really cost us any money, just time and creative energy to say “What if we went to this brand new Kroger and gave the shoppers a live concert?” and the hope is that then they will see us at upcoming events afterwards. Instead of asking “How can the community help us?” we are now asking “How can we help the community?” because in one helping the other we will all lift each other up. Music is a shared experience that people want to be a part of.

Memphis is the most special town I have known. I have lived in a lot of America’s biggest cities. I lived in New York City for a minute. This place has so much heart. The people of Memphis are just so strong. If there is anything I’ve learned from this past week, it is that if we don’t have each other, we don’t have anything.

The MSO performs about 300 musical performances a year that include schools and libraries as well as other venues around town.

You can see their upcoming concerts below:

You can also purchase a Gift Certificate, which is perfect for the holidays.

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