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We Stand Together: Janna Hymes, Carmel Symphony Orchestra

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Music is a universal language, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra artistic director says no matter the tune it can bring us together.

News 8’s Katiera Winfrey spoke to her for Wednesday’s We Stand Together report.

A symphony orchestra isn’t the typical place you’ll envision when you talk about diversity and inclusion. But just as notes from varying instruments come together to make something beautiful, people have the ability to do the same, says Janna Hymes, the Carmel Symphony Orchestra artistic director, merging people’s diverse backgrounds into one and creating a more beautiful place.

Here’s a transcript of the interview:

HYMES: The symphony is a safe place. It’s a place for every body there are no boundaries. The players who play in our orchestra come from a wide variety of backgrounds. So we are incredibly inclusive from day one. I love work because we have no boundaries and when I program pieces it with the thought in mind that I’m going to be representing everyone around the world. So when I program a piece or season I like to have a mixture of everything. Because that’s really what the world is. And that’s how I view it.

WINFREY: They say music has a way of bringing people together. You can hear a sound and no matter your background you’re able to have appreciation for it, or you were able to recall something in life that that might have sparked a memory for you.

HYMES: It’s absolutely true music is in international language and some music is written with a specific goal in mind. For people to remember a topic or a story or there’s a reason why it was written. Whether it’s about something that happened politically or historically or it’s a love story. I have so many stories and I’ve heard so many stories and great remembrances of people being altered by Musical performances that I’ve been a part of. I can’t even tell you how incredible that is. And even some music is not that way. The music is very thought-provoking and it wants you to think in a very deep and profound way. And it’s not always profound and cheery and that’s important too. So we want people to feel some emotion every time we do a concert. But I would say that music you know music has really saved a lot of people during the last five months. But I think that people have used it for a respite. So we use Music for different reasons. To feel different ways. And it can also bring us a sense of calm and peace but it can also be very thought-provoking and bring us to new levels that we never thought that we had. And I love that about it.

WINFREY: Talk about your role when it comes to diversity or just finding diverse talent or just the need to put the option of being in a symphony orchestra in front of children who may never even be in that world.

HYMES: I think the educational concerns that we do were some of the most important concerts that we do because these give kids an option not only to see in here and orchestra but as well it’s a safe place a safe place they can join and there’s no judgment. And I love that. We happen to be very fortunate in Carmel because the schools have such a very healthy educational program and one of the best in the country. And they are known all over the country as being incredible Schools for music. But I like to go to places where schools are not as fortunate. And I like to be able to do that. So I’m starting a program, I’m writing it up now and I really want to see it happen. Where we go into some areas where kids are not as fortunate and don’t see a symphony even once or twice a year like some of these other schools. And where we can do some concerts and presentations.

WINFREY: Do you draw from what we are seeing around us when you’re developing programs?

HYMES: I’m always aware of what’s going on. In the world. But yes I’m very affected by what goes on around politically and in the world but I don’t know if it’s directly affects how I program. I think I’ve always programmed with an idea of inclusivity equality without even knowing that I was programming in a very diverse way. I’ve always had that in my mind where you know I’ve never really like doing February Black History Month because it shouldn’t be one month where we play that music. We should be playing music my black composers throughout the year. It’s almost like our our civic stature other as an orchestra, we need to serve our community and we need to be fair, and we need to show that we’re equitable and that we are inclusive and that diversity is part of our ethos. Our every day being our every day working so that when you come to the orchestra you’re going to see that no matter what you come And are a part of. So it becomes part of the norm. And that’s and I feel like that is almost part of our responsibility. I heard a great quote recently, someone said don’t forget the word civil in civilization and I love that because it’s kind of where I’m coming from. Do you know let’s all be in this together and let us all be on the same bandwagon. Because in the end it’s going to be so much better.