Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Music, poetry and an extraordinary live interview by Roosevelt André Credit with Dr. Reverend Brinson, who knew Dr. Martin Luther King personally. Originally presented live in Harmony Hall January 17, 2021.
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History of Harmony Hall
Harmony Hall is a cultural and performing arts center located at 1212 Solstice Circle, between Dreidel and Kringle Streets in the City Center neighborhood of Holidayopolis. A full-block building, it is bounded on the north by Kuumba Avenue and the south by Rama Road.
For thousands of years an old dairy farm stood here. Cows, sheep and goats chewed lazily on the grass. The milk was fresh; the sky was blue, and all was calm. Holidayopolans lived in pure peace and tranquility.
One day a little girl named Bella, and her Uncle stopped for ice cream at the dairy shop. Bella asked for “Pumpkin peanut butter, please. It’s my favorite!”
The farmer slowly looked up and stopped playing her harmonica. “No flavors allowed, as they could be associated with a particular holiday.”
“But that’s terribly boring!” Bella exclaimed.
“Shhh. Be polite,” her Uncle admonished.
“Read the sign.”
Bella and her Uncle looked up to see a fancy plaque, and read out loud: “Holidayopolis City Ordinance no. 11136: “Hear Ye, Hear Ye! No holiday decorations, traditions, food, art, or music shall be displayed outside the boundaries of their respective neighborhoods, so as not to infringe upon the rights of any other Holidayopolans who may happen to be wandering through. In this way, the citizens of Holidayopolis shall live in peace forevermore.” Signed, Mayor Boris Bland.
“The law’s the law. Gotta keep the peace,” the harmonica playing farmer said, and went immediately back to playing the Solstice Blues.
“Exactly right,” said Uncle. “We do what we must, Bella, for peace and harmony to prevail.”
The farmer suddenly stopped. “Harmony? Nah. We’ve got plenty o’ peace. And quiet. But harmony? Well, now that’s another story.”
“Aren’t peace and harmony the same thing?” asked Bella.
“It all depends on how you look at it. You see, for harmony to exist, different notes have to be played at the same time. In the same room. And other notes must be quiet and listen for a while. That’s how harmony works.” At that, the farmer left to go milk the cows, carrying the music with her.
The rest is a long story for another time . . . but in the end, the Proclamation was overturned because of that fateful meeting. It took quite a few years, but the plans for Harmony Hall were made, and the first building was erected in the summer of 1222. It has gone through quite a few renovations since then, but its spirit remains the same. This Hall is a place for us all to gather and celebrate our own traditions while honoring others. To play our notes passionately when the time comes, and at other times sit quietly and listen. And by all means, may we always be able to eat our favorite ice cream, be it red bean, pumpkin, beetroot, chocolate, or. . .