During the intermission of a Saturday night performance by the St. Louis Symphony, audience members began standing, singing, and asking a question: "which side are you on, friend?"
The singers, who were dispersed throughout the audience, were apparently participants in an organized demonstration intended to call attention to the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown. As they sang, they repeated their question several times, then continued, "justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all."
Their words echoed into the cavernous Powell Hall as the rest of the audience, as well as the symphony performers, mostly looked on in silence.
As the demonstrators sang, other participants seated in the balcony section unfurled banners displaying Brown's name.
After the brief demonstration ended, members of the audience and symphony applauded, according to both witnesses and St. Louis Symphony spokeswman Erika Ebsworth-Goold. She told BuzzFeed News Saturday night there were about 50 people who participated in the brief demonstration.
Ebsworth-Goold added that though she was backstage at the time, she could hear the singing and the demonstrators "had lovely voices." The symphony was performing Brahms' "German Requiem" before the demonstration began.
Pictures from the scene, as well social media discussion afterward, dubbed the demonstration "Requiem for Mike Brown."
When the demonstration ended, the demonstrators peacefully left and the performance continued.
Ebsworth-Goold said everyone involved had apparently purchased a ticket. Ebsworth-Goold added that she wished the demonstrators would have stayed to see the rest of the performance.
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at email@example.com.
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