Listen Up, Charlotte


About Listen Up, Charlotte


In September 2016, protests broke out in the streets of uptown Charlotte for several days following the police shooting of a 43-year-old African-American man, Keith Lamont Scott. During this time of unrest, Charlotte Symphony leadership cancelled previously scheduled programming celebrating the start of its 2016-17 season to fill a need we felt in our community. We offered a free performance for peace at Belk Theater. We called the concert One Charlotte.

Music is a powerful equalizer. It's the universal language. By using music as tool to foster active listening and develop a strong sense of empathy, we can begin to understand and accept our differences and move toward a more unified, harmonious community.  

In the first partnership of its kind, the Charlotte Symphony teamed up with A Sign Of The Times of the Carolinas an organization dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of the African diaspora through the arts and the Levine Museum of the New South, for an unprecedented collaboration called Listen Up, Charlotte!

These free community events initially took place over two days in historically segregated locations: Charlotte's predominately African-American west side, and in a private school auditorium on the more affluent, mostly white, south side. The venues alone were symbolic. And quite intentional. Following the performance, the floor was opened to the audience to offer commentary about their own personal experiences and how we can work together to combat civil injustices in our community and beyond.

The second performances of Listen Up, Charlotte, will be held on Charlotte's east and north sides, September 14 and 16, respectively, and are funded in part by the Arts & Science Council's Culture Blocks program.