New York Times: Girard College Students Join Avant-Garde Musician for Multimedia Adaptation of ‘Be Holding’

Students sit in Girard College gym
Image via The New York Times.

Students from Girard College in Philadelphia joined the composer Tyshawn Sorey and the contemporary classical group Yarn/Wire for a multimedia adaptation of “Be Holding” by Ross Gay, writes Seth Colter Walls for The New York Times.

The new project has been years in development. Ross Gay’s book-length poem premiered last week at the gym of the school which is devoted to children who come from single- and zero-parent homes in underserved communities.

The poem’s text is nominally about a balletic shot from the 1980 NBA finals made by Philadelphia 76ers star Julius Erving. However, the poem is also about the off-the-court legacy of Black genius and notions of community, or its faltering absence, in the country.

Sixteen-year-old Adeshina Tejan, a sophomore at Girard, praised the poet’s work, adding that he particularly relished “the way he’s able to jump from topic to topic.”

“But you still feel the sense that he’s still talking about ‘the shot,’ even when he’s talking about different situations,” added the teen who contributes movement to the production.

After the Philadelphia premiere, the show could run elsewhere, including New York, where Gay himself may also participate.

Read more about the show in The New York Times.


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