It doesn't get any better than this... yet, I know it will. But this was really great!
After a robust movement exercise where the participants created characters and relationships in response to the music of the Prologue from West Side Story, I lifted a five note phrase out of musical score, to become the centerpiece of our final sharing at the end of the evening.
We sang this phrase over and over again as a group. The 5th note in particular of the melodic phrase above, the group decided, set the stage for an unexpected event, a surprise happening, a mystery full of crazy suspense, and yes, tragic endings. The note, they claimed, was whack! It tore a deep hole that nobody saw coming. It was totally ill. The entire phrase and its shocking 5th note, were then hummed out loud by the entire group as an ending line, a coda if you will, to each and every story about real life events the group individually went on to share. Stories about their personal experiences with regards to their memories of conflicts between themselves and the police. As difficult as some of the stories were to share out in the open, the ability to then process each event was made possible by the brilliant 5 note phrase from Mr. Bernstein. The music transported everyone, instantly, crystalizing the enormous impact made by a simple decision, attitude, gesture, expression, tone, appearance, etc., in each story told. Just like the 5 notes above. The first 4 notes then became a way back through each story, to look at the origin of the circumstances and debate over a replay of how things went down. Brilliant evening.