It is still only few days since we had hoped to play our Family Concerts at North High and St. Matthew’s. So tonight, I want to ask us to particularly consider our collaboration partners in the North High faculty, students, and neighborhood.
In our time working with North High, we have learned how stretched their faculty and staff are in working to meet the needs of their students in very challenging circumstances. This year, there is a new Principal, Mauri Friestleben. You may remember Principal Friestleben and several of her colleagues on the local news a couple of months back. They were speaking about the intense challenge of getting the students to and from the buses and their homes safely, and keeping the immediate surroundings of their schools secure.
Last week, one of those students, DeShaun Hill, 15 years old, lost his life to apparently random violence. He was waiting at a bus stop when he was shot. A suspect has been arrested, but to my knowledge, there is no real idea of what might have behind the shooting. What I do know is that DeShaun and several other North Students were waiting to take the bus downtown to a student gathering to recognize Amir Locke. Amir, in turn, is the man who was shot in the apartments across from Orchestra Hall a few days earlier during a “no knock” police entry.
If we had been able to play at North on January 30, DeShaun might well have been in our audience. In a different year without the pandemic challenges, he might even have interacted or collaborated with us. What we now know is that when we do get to return to North, DeShaun will not be with us.
Please think of DeShaun, his family, and the entire North High community, as we get back together for rehearsals.