markham

Amazing show – do go

Date: March 15, 2024

It was the dress rehearsal of American Patriots last night, and it was amazing. The whole concept is extraordinary: taking regular people expressing their views and putting these views into music sounds impossible, but it works brilliantly. Over the course of 90 minutes, different voices were put into close proximity. So, at one moment I am hearing: “Girl! What has this country done for Black people?” and in the next: “If you like everybody to get on one page, there’s many good places to be. North Korea, probably China, and a lot of authoritarian regimes. They all agree in one direction. And if you want that, go there!”

The singing was extraordinary – utterly exceptional. Questions that we dare not ask were explored. Horrendous aspects of the immigration process (for example, the aging out problem in the Green Card process) were described. Views that we would simply condemn (for example, “if anything the whites are the ones being oppressed”) are set to music. It was really helpful that I could follow the lyrics in the program (I am at that age when I need the subtitles).

At the end, there was a standing ovation. As I walked back from Immanuel Chapel to the Deanery, I was a mixture of emotions from grateful for the experience, to concerned about an America that must handle all these voices, and yet hopeful that the advice right at the end will win the day: the native way is that we should “always, always you go, get up and every day, always, always go learn something for me.”

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and the President of The General Theological Seminary

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