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APR 2021

Overture recognizes the 40th anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 18 - 24

Overture Exterior, lit with purple lights

In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Overture donned its purple lights to bring awareness to the movement, established 40 years ago by the US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, and to honor the strength and resiliency of both victims and service providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made the last year challenging for all of us, but none have been more challenged than crime victims, who were often isolated from family, friends and support systems. To compound the problems presented by the pandemic, victim service providers grappled with strained resources and other formidable barriers to victim outreach and care.

This year’s theme - Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities - emphasizes the importance of leveraging community support to help victims of crime. Criminal justice and victim service professionals, businesses, healthcare providers, educators, policymakers, houses of worship and a host of other social and civic groups are working together to ensure that survivors of crime receive the holistic services and support they need. This not only helps the individual heal, but it also improves community safety and wellbeing. These efforts are needed now more than ever as we feel the surge in domestic crimes, race hate crimes, mass shootings and increased gun violence. This week helps focus our attention on how we can come together to support those who need us most.

Overture Forums: Mother’s Day Singalong with Lullaby Project

Overture Forums Banner - Mother's Day Singalong with Lullaby Project


Celebrate Mother’s Day and the special bond of caregivers, young children and music. This free virtual concert will feature Madison musicians playing familiar singalong lullaby favorites and original songs by local parents participating in this year’s Lullaby Project. Encourage your children to dress up and play along with their own shakers, hand drums or noisemakers! The concert will be hosted by Overture’s Director of Education and Community Engagement Alanna Medearis with featured musicians Laura Lang, Dana Perry, Angela Puerta and surprise guests.

About the Lullaby Project: A program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the Lullaby Project uses the creative process of songwriting to help new and expectant parents express their hopes and dreams for the future through music. Overture Center is pleased to be one of more than 30 organizations across the country and the world to be a Lullaby Project partner.

The Lullaby Project is supported in part by Stephen & Carey Weiler.

Dr. Ken Hardy provides workshop: On Becoming and Being a Cross Racial Ally

Ken Hardy Speaking

In our efforts to support social and racial justice and embrace equity, diversity and inclusion at Overture Center, we’re pleased to present a workshop, “On Becoming and Being a Cross-Racial Ally” with Kenneth Hardy, PhD, on Wednesday, April 28, 9:30-11:30 a.m. All staff are required to attend as part of our EDI training. Board members, resident companies and the Community Advisory Council are also invited. Hardy is a clinical and organizational consultant at the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York where he also serves as director.

In times of great racial turmoil, turbulence and strife, there is always a population of committed and conscientious individuals outside of the targeted racial group who aspire to be allies in the struggle for racial and social justice. Being an effective cross-racial ally requires more than having good intentions or possessing a passionate desire to make a difference. At its core, it is less concerned about what one says, or aspires to be, and more about the actions that one ultimately takes. Being an effective cross-racial ally requires knowing thyself as a racial being as well as developing mastery of a skillset that is germane to having intense, complicated and nuanced conversations about race and racism.

This workshop will conduct a comprehensive exploration of the salient issues and pitfalls that often impede the ability of the well-intentioned aspiring ally from becoming and being an effective cross-racial ally. Special attention will be devoted to identifying the steps and strategies for becoming and being an effective cross-racial ally.

Employee Inclusion Council begins new Cultural Competence Initiative: Let’s Break to Educate

“Let’s Break to Educate” is a series of internal staff sessions organized by Overture’s Employee Inclusion Council (EIC) that aims to discuss topics in our society today surrounding the intersectionality of identities and social/racial injustice. In response to the dramatic increase in Asian hate crimes in 2020, and now into 2021, EIC will begin the series with a deep dive into Asian history and experiences using a recent article by local artist Jenie Gao as a starting point for this conversation. By discussing this timely and relevant topic, EIC hopes to increase our staff’s knowledge, understanding and awareness of the multi-faceted Asian community that exists today in Madison, Dane County and across the country. Internally, we would like to understand the issues from a local and national perspective and find ways to support and uplift historically marginalized communities. This series will lend to influencing how we can achieve actionable and positive change going forward. EIC will continue these discussions through the “Let’s Break to Educate” series and work on additional internal inclusion projects.

Deja Mason: Overture’s first Diversity & Inclusion intern to graduate from UW-Madison’s Bolz Center for Arts Administration

Deja Mason Graduation Photo

Deja Mason, Overture’s first Diversity & Inclusion intern, will graduate on May 8 with her Master of Arts in Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership, a graduate program of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration located in the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This is a great accomplishment alone, but when you consider Mason’s elevated responsibility and presence at Overture during the pandemic in her role as Human Resources Coordinator, the accomplishment is quite amazing.

Mason is a human resource professional and arts administrator working towards positively disrupting the arts industry and advocating for those from historically marginalized groups, as well as highlighting the intersections of these identities. She co-leads Overture’s Employee Inclusion Council under the directive of working to create an inclusive work environment for all current and future employees.

In 2017, Mason received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Human Resources from the Wisconsin School of Business while serving in multiple leadership positions on campus. In her spare time, she enjoys performing and singing in front of crowds, exploring new music, learning new and random facts, and reminiscing about her hometown, Dallas, Texas.

Learn more about Mason through her recent blog post: "Even the Genius Asks Questions": Learning, Evolving and Disrupting in the Midst of Change.

Madison Ballet presents: “Lift Every Voice” virtual production

Headshot of Rachelle Fochs

Rachelle Fochs, director of the School of Madison Ballet and choreographer of Madison Ballet’s “Mercy,” enjoyed releasing a virtual performance in April, “It was amazing to be with dancers again, even though we social distanced and wore masks to keep everyone safe,” she said.

This recent experience was very different for Madison Ballet. Fochs explains that when developing choreography for a stage production, you only have one perspective to think about, and that is the perspective of the audience from the seats in the performance space.

Using the film platform opened up many angles for audience engagement she had not taken into consideration in the past. The many angles for choreography created both a challenge and an opportunity. After being in virtual mode for the past year, having this opportunity to work with student dancers in person was fulfilling emotionally and mentally. “I felt whole again,” said Fochs.

Overture’s own Dave Alcon, director of digital marketing, is filmmaker on the piece. He captures the essence of the performance with long-form angles, giving the viewer the impression of what it’s like to be with the dancers as they perform, providing a sense of closeness and connection. In “Lift Every Voice,” you feel the energy and release of pent-up artistic expression from the dancers as a result of being unable to dance as an ensemble during the pandemic.

"The overarching theme of my work is unity through compassion, while showing a view of loneliness in the ongoing racial inequity in the world,” said Fochs. “Now is the time for change, and I will continue to do the work to move forward."

The choreography to “Still I Rise,” the poem by iconic poet Maya Angelou, provides an uplifting ending to the production. During the talk back after the premier of “Lift Every Voice,” Fochs talks about the importance of focusing on a message of renewed hope as a way to put the past behind us. She says she wants to continue to explore the use of filmed choreography and production, but she says nothing can replace the power and beauty of live in-person dance performance.

The only way to guarantee legitimate tickets is to buy them directly from Overture Center at overture.org, by phone at 608.258.4141, or in person at the Overture Center Ticket Office. Learn more about safe ticket buying.


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Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street, Madison, WI 53703

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