Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

Pennsylvanian Pines to Perform ‘Constitution’ at Inauguration

Erwin Chandler feels that our deeply divided nation should reflect on what the Founding Fathers actually intended. And the composer would like to choreograph that introspection by resurrecting his historical opus “The Constitution” during inauguration weekend.

Chandler composed the spoken word/classical music mashup back in the late 1980s; the project was originally commissioned as part of a cross-collaborative effort between the late Lewis “Skip” Norcott, former co-conductor of the Reading Pops Orchestra, and the music department at Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Pa.

According to Chandler, the piece, which was then narrated by the late state Sen. Michael A. O’Pake, has been performed perhaps twice. Given the opus’ emphasis on personal freedom — it even includes a dramatic reading of the entire Bill of Rights — Chandler believes its message is now more relevant than ever.

Chandler has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring his music back to life for the 2013 inauguration — a bid that’s, at least so far, produced more goodwill than cold hard cash.

“At this time in our history, we need to look back and be reminded of our roots. The Constitution is our supreme law and many of the youth today do not know this or even know what is contained within it. If music can reach the soul, then I hope this message can be shared with all. Thank you for preparing this patriotic event,” one supporter shared online.

While he would love to present the work to D.C. denizens, Chandler said things have been slow going in terms of official feedback.

“I [have] contacted the inauguration committee plus many military groups. So far, no responses,” he told HOH. Chandler said  Pennsylvania’s senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Patrick J. Toomey, have remained equally silent about the prospective performance.

Should everything fall into place, Chandler said he’d love to have former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell handle narrating duties, and the Philadelphia Orchestra or the Reading Pops would be his go-to musicians. If D.C. venues turn out to be a bust, Chandler would be cool with swinging his baton at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Reading, Pa., or the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

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