6:30 Concert Series Kicks off 2021 With Jazzy Focus on Sustainability

By Charlotte Berg, Rachel Krause, & Melissa Hamilton


The kick-off event for the 6:30 Concert Series hosted by the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Music Department and Common CAHSS was live-streamed on the UWGB Music YouTube Channel on Monday, March 8. David Voelker, a professor of Humanities and History at UW-Green Bay, opened the event by rethinking our relationship with the living planet—a process that seems absolutely critical to moving beyond sustainability into an ecological future.

Screenshot of “Sostenere” Performance (World Premiere). Credit: Charlotte Berg

The first installment of the 2021 concert series was jazz-packed, including a world premiere piece composed by cellist John Salerno, a UW-Green Bay faculty member.

Figure 1: Screenshot of “Sostenere” Performance (World Premiere). Credit: Charlotte Berg

The 6:30 concert series’ 2020-21 season is entirely virtual this year. This year’s theme for Common CAHSS, a partner in the program, is “Beyond Sustainability: Imagining an Ecological Future.” This theme is an invitation to think about how we might benefit from a more robust framework than “environmental sustainability” to address the interrelated environmental and social crises that we now face.

Professor Voelker, co-coordinator of the Common CAHSS and 6:30 concert programs, wants students to learn from the series. “I’d like for people to have a broader concept of sustainability. When we think about sustainability, we tend to think about technical improvements and technology (wind turbines, energy efficiency, etc.),” says Voelker. “These kinds of developments are essential, but we need to see how creating a socially just, ecological society requires engaging all of our capabilities, including the creativity of the arts.”

Screenshot ending chat responses. Credit: Charlotte Berg

With a total of 70 attendees watching the event from their homes, viewers listened to music to end the first warm spring day. The concert included works by Professor Evan Williams, Professor Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, Daniel Crawford, John Luther Adams, and Associate Professor John Salerno. Most notably, “Sostenere” by Professor Salerno received rave reviews from those typed in the live stream’s chat function. “Excellent,” “Intense,” and Brilliant” were some of the words used by guests.

Performer, composer, and UW-Green Bay Music faculty member John Salerno wrote “Sostenere” in January and February. “I enjoyed performing it…especially with the great musicians who were performing with me,” says Solerno. “Music needs to be heard. It can’t exist in a vacuum or laboratory. It needs to relate to the cultural needs of the time and place.”

6:30 concert Program with names and performers. Credit: Charlotte Berg

The next 6:30 concert is Monday, April 5, 2021, featuring UW-Green Bay Music Professor Adam Gaines on trumpet and electronics.

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