One of the most disturbing parts of life is when a nightmare turns into a reality. In one young girl’s case, her reality was a high school party rape that ripped her apart from the person she once was.
“Dreams Haunt Me,” a world premiere piece, was conducted and written by Brad Hart, the conductor at Johansen High School in Modesto, Calif. The piece was performed by the SF State Wind Ensemble Thursday, March 20 to raise funds for Bay Area Women Against Rape.
The evening began with three musical pieces by the Johansen High School Concert Band. After, the SF State wind ensemble finished the night out performing “Dreams Haunt Me” and original pieces from Bay Area conductors Nolan Stolz and Mark Narins.
Silence ran over Knuth Hall as Hart came on stage to discuss the piece, written for a friend of his, the victim of rape. Hart met the subject when she was a freshman in college. She played in the band in her high school, and approached him through their musical connection.
She told him of a traumatic night during her senior year of high school, during which she had been taken advantage of by another female. She found herself at the wrong after party and had a little too much to drink. When she went to tell her counselor about the attack, no one believed her because she “couldn’t possibly get raped by another woman.”
“When we think about rape we usually have a pretty clear image of this weird nasty guy. This was not a guy, this was a lady that raped her,” said Dr. Martin Seggelke, conductor of the SF State Wind Ensemble.
The victim was left in a million pieces. She coped by writing her incident through poems and journaled to deal with the pain. Hart wanted to write about a real person’s life and he produced the wind ensemble piece from it, said Seggelke.
Charles Barrett, 25, a master of music and conducting who was in charge of putting together the fundraiser, said “We really communicate a message in music (through the) audience’s engagement and feelings.”
The piece, haunting and dark, conveys the feelings of the girl left traveling this unwarranted journey and coping with the new feelings and insecurities it carries. By the end of the song, the audience was on their feet, shouting “bravo” as Hart bowed and was thanked for presenting a powerful piece that so many people could relate to.
Biology major Cinthya Chairez, 19, who was invited out by her friend, said, “(Dreams Haunt Me) had a mystical kind of theme. I thought it was going to be dark, but it had a lot of depth to it (as well).”
The Bay Area Women Against Rape representative Kathryn Howell was amazed and haunted by the piece.
BAWAR is a 24-hour crisis hotline where volunteers come and support the victims after they have been raped. They get a call and go to the hospital where the victim is at and help the victim cope through this traumatic incident. Howell was pleased and honored that the SF State Wind Ensemble was able to help with funding this important organization.