Protesters Present Their Own ?Requiem for Mike Brown?

Mike BrownThe concert Saturday evening by the St. Louis Symphony orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall was billed as a performance of Brahms Requiem that protesters converted to a ?Requiem for Mike Brown.?

According to news stories coming from various papers in St. Louis, including the St. Louis American and a story posted by Rebecca Rivas, about 50 people interrupted the concert and began singing ?Justice for Mike Brown.?

?As symphony conductor Markus Stenz stepped to the podium to begin the second act of German Requiem, ? Rivas reported, ?one middle-aged African-American man stood up in the middle of the theater and sang, ??What side are you on friend, what side are you on??

?In an operatic voice, another woman located a few rows away stood up and joined him singing, ?Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all.? Several more audience members sprinkled throughout the theater and in the balcony rose up and joined in the singing.?

Some members of the audience were disturbed by the five-minute disruption and hollered epithets at the protesters.? The orchestra remained silent throughout the commotion.

In one photo from the event a banner is festooned on the balcony with the likeness of Brown, who was killed August 9 in Ferguson, Mo. by Officer Darren Wilson, and the words ?Requiem for Mike Brown 1996-2014.?

Other banners included the words ?Racism Lives Here? and ?Rise up and join the Movement? it was reported.

After a chorus or two of songs, the protesters, all of whom were paying patrons, left the hall in an orderly manner, a few of them leaving behind leaflets that declared ?Black lives matter.? ?

The St. Louis American tracked down and interviewed the organizer of the event ? Sarah Griesbach, 42, a white woman who lives in the Central West End. ?She said that the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, has opened her eyes to the inequalities that exist in St. Louis. She has been protesting since Brown was shot on Aug. 9,? Rivas wrote.

?It is my duty and desire to try to reach out and raise that awareness peacefully but also to disrupt the blind state of white St. Louis, particularly among the people who are secure in their blindness,? said Griesbach.

There have been several other public events, including a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game, in which protesters have voiced their outrage about the killing and the ongoing grand jury and its prosecutor.