Jazz for Justice is an evening of great jazz, fine food, and fun in collaboration with the Eastman School of Music to benefit the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar. This year’s event will take place on Friday, October 27 from 5:30-8:30 pm at The Commissary in Sibley Square, 250 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604. Tickets may be purchased online.
Article by André J. Washington, Esq., ’10E (pictured above, left)
People do not often think of music and law as a pair, but the arts can be an important boon for a lawyer, bringing passion to a field that often relies on dispassionate argument. According to legendary philosopher, Martha Nussbaum, “music is a necessary part of a lawyer’s equipment.” It has often been seen as the art that represents our own “life force,” and that appreciating music helps us experience our own bodies and sexuality in a new way. Law often deals with the most intimate areas of human sexuality and bodily life, and yet the tools of the legal system are often sterilized and intentionally removed from the realities of those experiences. Much can be lost when the pursuit of justice, especially social or sexual justice, omits the human element. Music can help bring the cerebral tools of the law and the body closer together to regain those losses.
This is the idea behind the new and exciting collaboration between the Eastman School of Music and the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar’s Jazz for Justice event this year. Eastman Professor of Composition, Daniel Pesca ’05E ’16E (DMA), will compose a special piece based on the ideas of justice and the pursuit thereof. “While writing the piece, I reflected on the idea of justice,” says Pesca. “Justice is an aspirational value: an absolute we yearn for, but never can fully achieve, so we keep working at it, searching for ways forward. And so, the piece I wrote has a searching, winding quality. Overall it moves from darker hues at the opening to something a little lighter, like the first signs of the dawn of a new day.”
The piece will be premiered at the Jazz for Justice event on October 27th by students in the jazz program at Eastman, Kate Molloy (Piano), Peter Foley (Double Bass), and Ian Schoenberg (Drums). All those who attend will be able to experience the life force of yearning for justice through the lens of Pesca’s musical imagination. A signed manuscript of the piece and a recording of its performance will be available as a part of the silent auction that evening. The lucky winner gets to go home and relive the magic of musical justice, content in the knowledge that the proceeds of the auction will support programs that aid the Rochester community. As usual, the event will also feature beer, wine, and delicious food from local restaurants and members of The Commissary.
Pesca, who is donating his world-class musical talents to give birth to this new collaboration says, “I am honored to be contributing to this event, which has a significant impact on civic life in Rochester. As a new faculty member in the Composition department at Eastman, writing for ‘Jazz for Justice’ is a wonderful way to engage with the wider community — and also a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with talented students from Eastman’s Jazz program.”
“The Rochester legal community is thrilled that Professor Pesca will grace us with his award-winning talents this year,” says Amanda Dreher, Esq., chair of the committee organizing this event. “We hope that this program will rejuvenate the cause of justice by inspiring a wider swath of the community to take action.”
The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Monroe County Bar Association and has awarded grants of more than $1 million to support programs and organizations in Rochester and Monroe County, such as Rochester Teen Court, CASA, Empire Justice Center, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester and many more.
Friday, October 27 | 5:30-8:30 PM
The Commissary in Sibley Square (250 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604)
Registration required ($65/person, $115/pair)