20 Minutes of Action
In 2016, the trial of Brock Turner was yet another controversial episode in an ongoing debate about rape culture, privilege in the criminal justice system, and campus safety. In court, the victim read aloud a letter to her attacker that has since been read over 11 million times and has influenced legislation in California. The text of this letter is both a painful reminder of what an incident like this does to a woman’s life, and how society continues to react to situations like these.
20 Minutes of Action will be a setting of the text of Brock Turner’s letter, composed by Jessica Meyer and performed by Sandbox Percussion and the vocal duo Two Cities. Jessica plans to set specific sentences from the letter to express these ideas, such as “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence…”, and “at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times.” Meanwhile, Brock’s father sent a letter to the judge pleading, “His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life…” (Note: he was subsequently released after only serving 3 months). At the end of the victim’s statement, she remarkably chooses not to end in despair, but with a message to girls everywhere – “we are getting somewhere… you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. “
When we conceived of 20 Minutes of Action several years ago, we lived in an entirely different time. Now with the #MeToo movement, and the almost daily revelations of sexual abuse by public figures, we would like to do our part by raising awareness among our audience and community.
20 Minutes of Action will be twenty minutes in duration, and written in Spring 2018. It will be premiered at the National Sawdust Percussion Festival in April, 2019. We plan to tour the piece during the Spring of 2019, targeting colleges and other venues that will allow us to reach as many young people as possible.
A performance of George Crumb’s third American Songbook that Sandbox Percussion gave with pianist Erika Dohi and vocalist Elspeth Davis (of Two Cities) at Trinity Wall Street in January, 2017. This is an example of our previous collaborations with Elspeth. Please listen to a little of the first movement (“Poor Wayfaring Stranger), and then skip to 7:30 (“All The Pretty Little Horses”).
This is a live recording of Jessica Meyer’s composition Ring Out, Wild Bells, performed by Roomful of Teeth. It is a recent example of a work by Jessica, and is emblematic of the kind of vocal writing that she will compose for Two Cities.
This is a live recording of Christopher Cerrone’s work Goldbeater’s Skin performed by Sandbox Percussion and mezzo-soprano Elspeth Davis (of Two Cities). It is an example of an earlier percussion and vocal piece that we have commissioned, and it features Elspeth Davis, who will be one of the vocalists that performs in this project. Please start at the beginning of the work sample.
Start and End Dates
03/01/2018 — 04/07/2019
New York City, New York