The students in Lakewood High's Chamber Orchestra and AP Music Theory classrooms were fortunate to spend a virtual hour with acclaimed violinist, composer and social justice advocate Daniel Bernard Roumain. Roumain, known professionally as DBR, was recently the featured performer in New York at the Lincoln Center 9/11 tribute. He is a classically trained violinist who infuses a myriad electronic, urban, and African-American music influences (like Hip-hop, and funk) into his music. Roumain he uses his music to partner with others in projects that speak to social injustice issues. Some of his artistic partners include famed composer Philip Glass and Lady Gaga.
The students and Roumain, who were also joined by members of the nationally recognized Cavani String Quartet, who have been working with the Chamber students this school year thanks to a grant by the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation, talked about how one can use their art to help heal some wounds in the world. Roumain explained how he uses his violin as his "weapon of choice" in his social activism. "You can use music to change the world," he told the students. "You can change menacing in magic and you can change the mundane into magic."
LHS Orchestra Director Beth Hankins has her Chamber students studying the life and music of Dmitri Shostakovich and the ensemble will partner a Shostakovich composition with a modern piece by Roumain in order to expose the students to the music and composers who use the art of music to express significant historical times and feelings that may help to bring more empathy and unity to our community.