Miki Sawada, a talented concert pianist based in Boston, is making her way to Alabama with her own piano for the Gather Hear Tour. Scheduled from December 1 – 14, Sawada will perform nine free concerts in seven towns and cities across the state, as well as visit local public schools and prisons. Spectators in the area can witness her performance on December 4 at 6 p.m. at the Marion Art Center, hosted by Main Street Marion, and on December 7 at 5:30 pm in Selma at Edmundite Missions Bullock Center. 

Akiko Sawada has embarked on a mission to use classical music to foster better understanding and promote connection between people on opposite sides of political and socioeconomic divides: the Gather Hear Tour. This project began in 2017 in Alaska and has since reached thousands in states like West Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, and Louisiana. Sawada’s inspiration for Gather Hear emerged one week after the 2016 presidential election as the Japanese immigrant questioned a divided America. She decided to take classical music to “everyday” spaces, outside of traditional concert halls, so that people from all walks of life could experience the joy of the art form in an inclusive and accessible way. In turn, this could lead to a newfound appreciation for the shared humanity that binds us all. 

Gather Hear’s success in Alabama is driven by its collaborative relationships with local arts and social service organizations. The company’s Alabama presenting partner is InToto Creative Arts Forum in Birmingham, which provides arts classes to homeless shelters in the city. Other partners in the region include the Alabama Prison Arts & Education Program and Coleman Center for the Arts. Together, these organizations enable Gather Hear to continue their important work of transforming lives. 

Sawada’s Concert Program, organized by an organization with the mission of bringing professional quality, live, inclusive classical music experiences to people of all backgrounds, showcases African American composers alongside European composers, with poetry readings throughout the concert that reflect the local culture of Alabama. 

Website: https://www.gatherhear.com/ 

See the tour itinerary below: 

Tour itinerary: 

12/3, 3pm: Coleman Center for the Arts [York] 

12/4, 6pm: Marion Art Center [Marion] 

12/5, 2pm: Firehouse Ministries [Birmingham] 

12/7, 5:30pm: Edmundite Missions Bullock Center [Selma] 

12/8, Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Staton Correctional Facility [Wetumpka and Elmore] 

12/9, 7pm: Elba Theatre [Elba] 

12/11, 6:30pm: Camden School of Arts & Technology [Camden] 

12/12, 11am: Pathways Home [Birmingham] 

12/12, 5:30pm: Avenue D Events [Birmingham] 

12/14, 7pm: Georgiana Opry House [Georgiana] 

(Source: Main Street Marion)