International Peace Day Concert — Music for Peace

Ticket price
A. K. Bissell Park: International Friendship Bell & Peace Pavilion

ORCMA's Music Director & Conductor Dan Allcott leads members of the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and guest artist Katy Wolfe, soprano, in Music for Peace, 7:00 PM on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at the International Friendship Bell & Peace Pavilion. 

Come early for the entire Peace Day Evening event.  Bring your picnic dinner, blanket, and lawn chair for Peace Day Evening, beginning at 5:15 PM at A. K. Bissell Park's International Friendship Bell & Peace Pavilion.  Peace Day Evening is a free and collaborative community event that includes youth cultural activities by the Oak Ridge Girl Scouts, display of a specially raked design in the karesansui Contemplation Garden, ringing of the International Friendship Bell, special guest speakers for the occasion and more.  International Peace Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, and is observed annually around the world on September 21.  

Read the full press release here on Oak Ridge Today. 




Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra
Peace Day Evening

Music for Peace

Dan Allcott, music director & conductor
Katy Wolfe, soprano

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
7:00 PM



Let There Be Peace on Earth:  A Sing-along
by Jill Jackson-Miller & Sy Miller
Katy Wolfe, soprano

Adaptation Variations
by Takuma Itoh

Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us Peace)
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Adagio for Strings
by Samuel Barber

Ose Shalom (The One Who Makes Peace)
by John Leavitt
Katy Wolfe, soprano


This performance is made possible with generous support from donors, sponsors, and volunteers, including First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club Community Foundation, the Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence, and Pat Postma.  Thank you!



Program notes by Melony Dodson

Let There Be Peace on Earth
by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson-Miller


Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me;
let there be peace on earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God our creator,
family all are we.
Let us walk with each other
in perfect harmony.

The folksong movement of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s produced many songs known for their ease of singing, straightforward texts and prophetic messages. In 1955, Sy Miller and his wife Jill Jackson-Miller collaborated to create a song that has become a signature composition devoted to world peace and harmony among all peoples. Sy wrote the melody, while Jill wrote the lyrics.

Jill Jackson talked about her background and the context of the song in a radio interview:

“When I attempted suicide [in 1944] and I didn’t succeed,” she said, “I knew for the first time unconditional love—which God is. You are totally loved, totally accepted, just the way you are. In that moment I was not allowed to die, and something happened to me, which is very difficult to explain. I had an eternal moment of truth, in which I knew I was loved, and I knew I was here for a purpose.”

Sy Miller wrote about the effect of the song: “One summer evening in 1955, a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California mountains locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment — ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me’ — helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding.

The song was taped, copied, printed in songbooks and passed by word of mouth. Eventually it spread overseas, sung by Maoris in New Zealand and Zulus in Africa. It has been performed and recorded by artists spanning all genres of music, including Mahalia Jackson, Vince Gill, Sandi Patti, and Carlos Santana to name just a few.


Adaptation Variations (2019)
for flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, viola, cello
by Takuma Itoh

Takuma Itoh spent his early childhood in Japan before moving to Northern California where he grew up.  His music has been described as "brashly youthful and fresh" (New York Times). Featured amongst one of "100 Composers Under 40" on NPR Music and WQXR, he has been the recipient of many awards and commissions.

In 2018, Itoh was instrumental in creating an innovative education program, Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds, which brought over 8,000 young students to hear new orchestral compositions alongside original animations while raising awareness of  Hawaiʻi’s many endangered forest bird species.

Itoh's music has been performed by the Albany Symphony, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra, and Alarm Will Sound, to name just a few. He holds degrees from Cornell University, University of Michigan, and Rice University. His past teachers include Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Shih-Hui Chen, Anthony Brandt, Pierre Jalbert, and Karim Al-Zand. Since 2012, Itoh has been teaching at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa where he serves as an Associate Professor of Music.

The following are Itoh's own program notes about his composition, "Adaptation Variations":

When talking about evolution, biologists often use the musical term "theme and variations" as an analogy of how a single species can evolve to become a diverse array of species over time. With Adaptation Variations, I wanted to raise awareness of Hawai'i's incredible honeycreepers (forest birds) which performed this theme and variations over many millennia, evolving from one species that flew over to Hawai'i to over 50 distinct species at one point–but now fewer than 20 still remain, many of which are critically endangered. The work starts off with a brief storm before arriving at a clear melodic theme. The rest of the work is a loose set of theme and variations that use some of the various honeycreepers' distinct features as starting points for musical inspiration: the long curved beaks of the i'iwi resulted in the glissandi section; the seed-eaters like the palila led to the percussive, rhythmic variation; the repeated notes of an 'amakihisong or the distinctive intervals that an 'apapane sings became rhythmic and intervallic motives throughout the work; and so on.


Dona Nobis Pacem

Sometimes, the simplest songs can be the most powerful. The origin of the traditional round, “Dona Nobis Pacem,” which means ‘Grant Us Peace,’ is not definitely known, although some attribute it to Mozart. The melody likely has its origins in folk music from the 16th or 17th century by an unknown composer. Today it is included in many church hymnals, songbooks, and a portion of the Agnus Dei from the Roman Catholic Mass.  The text is a prayer for peace, but beyond its use in churches, the three-part round has been popular for secular services for peace. 


Adagio for Strings
by Samuel Barber

Samuel Barber was only in his mid-twenties when he first wrote the Adagio for Strings as the slow movement to a string quartet in 1936. After hearing the powerful piece of music, legendary Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini urged Barber to arrange it for full string orchestra. The composer took his advice and in 1938, Toscanini premiered the new work with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Millions of Americans were listening as it was broadcast on the radio, and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings quickly became a huge success. The year 1938 was a time of tumult. America was still recovering from the Depression and Hitler's Germany was pushing the world towards war. Toscanini himself had only recently settled in America after fleeing fascist Italy. And so, the Adagio for Strings arrived at just the right moment, when the world was in need of music to reflect its sadness and mourning. Indeed, the Adagio has become associated with mourning. It was used at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's funeral and after JFK's assassination, was performed to honor the memory of the victims of the September 11 attacks, and perhaps most famously, was included in the 1986 film Platoon.


Ose Shalom (The One Who Makes Peace)
Arrangement by John Leavitt

He who makes peace in high places

He will make peace for us

And all for Israel

And let us say, Amen.

The text for Ose Shalom is a well-known Hebrew prayer from the Jewish liturgy. It is recited in several different places during a typical Shabbat (Sabbath) service, but it most poignantly concludes the Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer used for remembrance of those who have passed on or are in need.  With a simple message of peace, it is a fitting work for troubled times.


Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra
Dan Allcott, Music Director & Conductor

Violin I
Karen Kartal, Concertmaster
   Charles Klabunde Chair
Ruth Bacon Edewards
Lisa Muci Eckhoff
Jenifer Van Tol

Violin II
Sara Lee-Cho, Principal
   Richard Ward, Susan Sharp, and Lois McKeever Chair in Memory of John McKeever
Kari Lapins
Kimberly Simpkins
Margaret Moore

Christy Graffeo, Principal
   Adolf & Carol King Chair in Memory of Soren King
Shelley Armer
Julie Simpson

Lee Richey, Principal
   John H. Allcott Memorial Chair
Kathryn York

Herb Hall, Principal

Shelby Shankland, Principal

Mark Cramer, Principal

Mitzi Hall, Principal

Wes Palmer, Principal

Personnel Manager & Librarian
Christy Graffeo

Stage Manager
Ken Hurst

36.012879711543, -84.2602023