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Art Song | Unaccompanied Voice


Program Note:

“Riots” sets the poem of same name by Carolyn Quick in the form of a theatrical art song.

In Carolyn’s words, “‘Riots’ was written during the height of Portland’s occupation by
the Federal Forces. As an essential worker working a night shift schedule in
downtown Portland not far from where these events unfolded, I witnessed many of
the stand-offs between Black Lives Matter protesters and federal officers and was
immensely frustrated by many of the things that I saw. ‘Riots’ was a way for me
to release some of the tensions that I carried and comment on the violence that I
observed. Because of my proximity to the Hatfield Building and due to the sheer
volume of deployment – the tear gas thrown by federal officers often leaked into
my building’s ventilation system and my co-workers and I were also subjected to
some of the gas that was used: ‘the gas makes me cry too.'”



It doesn’t seem to end:
Any and all
of it
Can’t seem to break
free from this God-forsaken
free of the deafening
Cries and explosions
of it,
Any and all of it
The smoke doesn’t seem to clear.
It doesn’t seem to end:
Any and all
of it
Clusters provoking barricades provoking
federal pangs and they are
for insubordination –
City inflamed and the sting of it,
Any and all of it;

The gas makes me cry too.

– Carolyn Quick (2020)