Kent State at Severance Music Center

Stories of Peace, Protest and Reflection

MONDAY, MAY 2, 2022 | 7:00 PM

The Glauser School of Music returns to Severance for a concert commemorating the tragic Kent State University shootings of May 4, 1970. It will feature ensembles from across the School of Music performing a diverse array of genres from Classical and Jazz to Gospel and World Music. Acclaimed clarinetist David Shifrin—who came to Kent State to attend the Kent Blossom Music Festival shortly after the shootings in 1970—is a featured guest soloist. Multimedia, dance and spoken word will help bring the stories to life.

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David Gillingham | With Heart and Voice
Performers: Kent Wind Ensemble and Kent State Symphony Band
Conductor: Wendy K. Matthews

Omar Thomas | A Mother of a Revolution
Performers: Kent State Youth Winds
Conductor: Wendy K. Matthews

Francisco Perez | Citadel of the Stars
Performers: Kent State Percussion Ensemble
Director: Matthew Holm

Bobby Selvaggio | I Have a Dream
Performers: Kent State Jazz Orchestra, Nova Jazz Singers, Kent State University Orchestra with Guest Spoken Word Artist Orlando Watson
Director: Bobby Selvaggio

Scott Davenport Richards & David Cote | Selections from Blind Injustice

  • “I used to be That Guy” 
  • “Getting the Job Done”
  • “The Wonder of Forensics”

Performers: Kent State Opera Theatre; Soloists Timothy Culver, Kishna Fowler, Lara Troyer, and Brian Keith Johnson; Kent McWilliams and Hana Chu, pianos; Dan Paterson, double bass and Corey Hautmann, percussion
Conductor: Jay White

Khmer Phothisat with Sung Text
Performers: Kent State Thai Ensemble
Director: Priwan Nanongkham

Frederic Rzewski | Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
Performers: Alena Miskinis, piano; Kylie Karam, Andreya Leavell, Tamara Marono-Garza, Mia Savelli, Elizabeth Schultheis, Sarah Seay, Ian Stewart, Yitian Zhang, Kent State student dancers choreographed by Jeffrey Marc Rockland; and costume design by Michelle Souza and Tamara Marono-Garza

Davido | FEM
Performers: African Ensemble and Steel Band with Afrobeat dance team Asé Xpressions
Director: Janine Tiffe

Brief Intermission

Adam Roberts | Sometime There Is a Day
Performers: New Music Ensemble
Director: Adam Roberts

Aaron Copland | Clarinet Concerto
Performers: Guest Soloist David Shifrin and the Kent State University Orchestra
Conductor: Jungho Kim

Johannes Brahms | “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen” (How Lovely are Thy Dwelling Places)

  • From Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem)

Performers: Kent State University Orchestra and Kent State Choirs
Conductor: Scott MacPherson

Spiritual | Let There Be Peace on Earth
Performers: KSU Voices United, Cleveland School of Arts Singers
Conductor: Jungho Kim; Director: Kishna Fowler

Marc Kaplan and Colin Britt | “Be the Change” from the Justice Choir Songbook
Arranged and conducted by Kent State alumnus Bryon Black II
Performers: Kent State University Combined Choirs, Orchestra, African Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble

Ticket Information

Pricing for Single Tickets
Tickets are now on sale!

  • Balcony: $25 (+$2 Severance fee)
  • Mezzanine: $50 (+$2 Severance fee)
  • Orchestra: $35 (+$2 Severance fee)
  • 18 & Under: $10 (use the promo code kentunder18)

Tickets will be exclusively available through the Severance Music Center Box Office. This concert is not available as part of a subscription package and will be sold separately.

Buy Tickets

Severance Health and Safety Information
Kent State May 4 Commemoration

The tragic events of May 4, 1970, had a profound impact on Kent State University, the nation and the world. In the ensuing years, Kent State's learning community has honored the memories of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder with an enduring dedication to scholarship that seeks to prevent violence and promote democratic values from public service to civil discourse.

The university's national leadership role in promoting nonviolence and other democratic values extends to 1971, when the Center for Peaceful Change was established to generate research, teaching and community outreach focused on nonviolent conflict resolution. The center has since been renamed the School of Peace and Conflict Studies. The May 4 Resource Center, established in 1973 in the library, houses materials documenting May 4 and serves as a public reading room and memorial.

For the latest information about this year's commemoration and the events of May 4, 1970, visit

Learn More About "Blind Injustice"


Music by
Scott Davenport Richards

Libretto by
David Cote

Based on fieldwork by the
Ohio Innocence Project

And the book
Blind Injustice by MARK GODSEY

Kent State Opera Theatre
In partnership with
Chagrin Arts and The Ohio Innocence Project

About Chagrin Arts

Chagrin Arts’ mission is to enrich lives by providing inspiring arts programming and stimulating conversations. A focus of the work of the organization is ‘Arts With A Purpose’ programming, creating a fusion of the arts, social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion. These important core values of Chagrin Arts use the beauty of the arts as a messenger to educate, bring awareness and provide conversation spaces for social issues.

It is an honor to partner with Kent State University’s Opera Theatre on this project to premiere three excerpts of the incredible work, Blind Injustice: The Opera, that premiered at Cincinnati Opera in July 2019. It is Chagrin Arts’ goal to present the local premiere of the opera/musical in Cleveland in Fall 2023. Visit to learn more about all of our work.

About the Ohio Innocence Project

The goal of the Ohio Innocence Project is simple: we want to free every innocent person in Ohio who has been convicted of a crime they didn't commit, to reform the criminal justice system to prevent wrongful convictions from occurring, and to partner with professional organizations, colleges and high schools, and community organizations, including Chagrin Arts, to educate our communities about the horror of wrongful convictions.

Founded in 2003, the Ohio Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization housed in the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati. Our work has led to the freedom of 34 wrongfully convicted Ohioans, who collectively served more than 665 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Seven of our clients’ lives form the basis of the book Blind Injustice, written by our founder and executive director, Mark Godsey. Blind Injustice: The Opera is based on the book. To learn more about our work, please visit

With generous support from:

The Ohio Arts Council and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture

Severance Concert Media Sponsors

We're Grateful for our Media Sponsors

WCLV | Ideastream Public Media

Ideastream Public Media serves the people of Northeast Ohio as a trusted and dynamic multimedia source for illuminating the world around us. Publicly supported and locally owned, Ideastream Public Media is indispensable and highly valued for its unique ability to strengthen our community. 

Learn More was launched on September 15, 2008, incorporated in the State of Ohio on December 1, 2014, and granted not-for-profit status by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity on April 29, 2015, retroactive to December 1, 2014. Our coverage is supported by a grant from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Getty Foundation and Rubin Institute.

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Meet Our Student Performers

  • Bands


    Nine ensemble options to fit your schedule and interests. 

  • Choirs


    Six exciting ensembles to fit your schedule and musical interests. 

  • Jazz Ensembles

    Jazz Ensembles

    Instrumental and vocal jazz opportunities.

  • New Music Ensemble

    New Music Ensemble

    Perform fresh, new music!

  • Opera


    Kent State Opera Theatre offers full stage productions of scene programs and entire operas. 

  • Orchestra


    Perform the great symphony orchestra and string orchestra literature.

  • Percussion Ensemble

    Percussion Ensemble

    Explore the percussion repertoire!

  • World Music

    World Music

    Music from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and beyond!

  • Piano & Collaborative Piano

    Piano & Collaborative Piano

    Kent State offers bachelor's and master's programs in piano, including the recently developed collaborative piano concentration for those pursuing graduate study. We are also an All-Steinway School.

Meet Our Featured Artists and Guests

  • David Shifrin

    Winner of both the Avery Fisher Career Grant (1987) and the Avery Fisher Prize (2000), David Shifrin is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, chamber music collaborator and educator.

    Mr. Shifrin has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit, Fort Worth, Hawaii and Phoenix symphonies among many others in the US; and internationally with orchestras in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. He has also received critical acclaim as a recitalist, appearing at such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, as well as at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

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  • Orlando Watson

    Cleveland, Ohio, native Orlando Watson has established himself as a preeminent lyricist whose soulful, baritone voice is known to weave through words with uncanny rhythmic delivery. In 2015 Watson was awarded the prestigious “KenteCloth” by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Ohio State University alongside acclaimed political commentator Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. . 

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  • Jeffrey Marc Rockland and Student Dancers

    Associate Professor of Dance at Kent State University, Jeffrey Marc Rockland is the Founding Artistic Director of East Meets West, Kent State's international dance organization.

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  • Bryon K. Black II

    Bryon K. Black II is pursuing a Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at the University of South Carolina. He is currently a choral graduate assistant, working closely with the UofSC choirs. A native of Akron, OH, he received his B.M. in Music Education from Ashland University, and his M.M. in Choral Conducting from Kent State University.

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  • Chic Canfora

    Chic Canfora is an eyewitness and survivor of the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970,  sister of wounded student Alan Canfora and Chair of the May 4 Commemoration Committee. She earned three degrees, including a Ph.D. at Kent State, where she teaches in the School of Media and Journalism and serves the Office of the President as Chair of the May 4 Presidential Advisory Committee 

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  • Natalie Knepp

    Natalie Knepp is an accomplished actor and voice-over artist in New York City who was featured along with 21 other professional actors in the Tina Fey-produced "May 4 Voices" radio play in 2020, each for their unique connection to Kent State. Natalie's voice as narrator of the documentary film "Fire in the Heartland" makes that connection evident as the daughter and niece of May 4 shooting survivors, Chic and Alan Canfora.

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