TWU lights up blue, white and red in support for Paris

Photo credit: Amber Robertson, Social Media Editor/ Designer for The Lasso

11/19/15

DENTON – Texas Woman’s University recently showed its support for Paris with blue, white and red lights shining on the Margo Jones Performance Hall on its Denton campus Nov. 17. Student Brooke Sims, staff member Jerry Dawson, faculty member Joni Jensen and the TWU Concert Choir led the efforts to light the buildings to show the university’s support and solidarity for Paris after the recent terrorist attacks on the city.

“I was significantly impacted by the attacks in Paris and other places over the weekend,” said Sims, a senior interdisciplinary studies (teaching) major from Fort Worth, who also serves as the student manager for Stark Hall. “I was very inspired by the lighting of buildings around the world and thought ‘I bet we could do something like that at TWU.’”

After talking with administrators, Sims was put in contact with Jensen, TWU associate professor music who directs the Concert Choir, and Jerry Dawson, manager of performance facilities.

“Thus, the idea of me speaking at the concert to dedicate it to the recent tragedy in Paris was created,” Sims said. “So in preparing what I wanted to say for that, and Dr. Jensen sharing more with  me about how the music they would be singing was already about tragedy and war; it just made sense to do the lighting on the music building.”

Sims credits Dawson for formulating the plan, logistics and making the lighting of Margo Jones happen.

“It was pretty exciting to see the impact the lights and music had on people that night,” Sims said. “It was truly a moving night, largely due to the hard work and excellent performance from our choir.”

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Excerpts from Brooke Sims Nov. 17 speech

“Good evening everyone.

My name is Brooke Sims and I am a student here at Texas Woman’s University. Coming out of this past weekend I have been left with some pretty unsettling emotions and difficult things to reflect on. I would like to take a moment of silence to honor all whose lives were lost this past week due to the terrorist attacks and natural disasters. [pause twenty seconds] Until very recently, I have had no real experience with tragedy. I’ve gone through public schooling and read about many tragedies. I’ve read about natural disasters, the crusades, genocide, world wars, and plagues. I recently read a book that was a personal account of the Holocaust from a man who was 15 when he entered his first concentration camp.

While I am not saying these things didn’t really happen, there remains a fictional element to all of these events. I didn’t experience any of them. I was in first grade when 9/11 happened. All I remember is being jealous of the kids whose parents came to pick them up early that day. I was alive for this event, but my child mind couldn’t grasp the reality of what was happening. Flash forward to this weekend.

How to describe my response to this. I started with this emotion wheel that I have and came up with the words devastated, overwhelmed, terrified. But these words can’t really tell you all how I truly feel inside. They don’t paint a clear picture of why my appetite and hours of sleep have decreased. By a show of hands, have any of you ever walked out of a musical performance so moved by what you just heard? And you’re just so impassioned by it that you try to explain it to one of your friends, but no matter what you say you feel as though you haven’t effectively portrayed its impact?

Have you been unable to find the words to describe it? While we sit here and wrestle with these emotional responses to the tragedies of this weekend that we just don’t have the words for, what opportunity could be more appropriate than to be touched by music in a way that can’t be described in words? Why don’t we allow our hearts to experience healing, not so that we can share this experience with others, but so that we can have peace within ourselves? Relate the unspeakable meaning of this music to the unspeakable meaning of the current tragedies in our lives.

If you feel uplifted at any time, allow a grin to swipe across your face. If you feel your eyes tearing up, don’t resist it. Allow that tear to stream down your face. Embrace the beauty that can exist even in the darkest of times. Thank you." 

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Page last updated 8:26 AM, December 11, 2015