COCA Artistic Director of Voice Dr. Philip A. Woodmore has been working on a special project to prepare for the visit of Little Amal to St. Louis as she makes her way across the United States. Hear from Dr. Woodmore about the exciting event planned to welcome Little Amal and how you can get involved!
Tell us about Little Amal.
Little Amal is a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child who is in search of her mother and has been traveling the world for the past several years. Little Amal has quickly become a global symbol of hope and expression of humanity for those she encounters. Beginning in early September, Little Amal will travel 6,000 miles across the United States visiting more than 35 towns and cities. She’ll be welcomed with free public events in each location. Read more about Little Amal here.
When does Little Amal come to St. Louis and what is planned for welcoming her?
Little Amal will be coming to town on Sunday, October. She will be here for less than 24-hours, and we will welcome her with a celebratory music presentation from our Little Amal STL Mass Choir, along with several performances from our prestigious arts organizations such as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, COCA, and the Muny. We will also have members of the St. Louis Police Department Choir welcome her through song, along with dancers from Megan Buckley’s studio, Studio Pointe. I am also excited to be collaborating with COCA’s Artistic Director of Dance, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, on choreographing a few special moments to celebrate Little Amal’s time in our incredible city. St. Louis is known for its rich arts community, and I am excited to put it on showcase for this historic event for STL.
What can you share with us about the music you are composing for this event?
When asked to serve as the co-producing partner for this event for St. Louis, I knew my main contribution would be as a proud artist of St. Louis. After working with the national team, it was clear to me that St. Louis would be offering Little Amal some original music as she experiences all that St. Louis has to offer. The opening number I have composed is called Heartland, it is a folk music-like song which offers a message of welcome to Amal and pride for our great city. Throughout Little Amal’s time in St. Louis, she will experience several performances and welcomes from other great performing groups which will finish with a beautiful song of unity I have written called Peace to send Little Amal on her way to her next destination.
Who will be performing in the choir?
My hope is to create an intergenerational choir that brings together singers of all ages and backgrounds to join together in song. Music is definitely a universal language that breaks down barriers and brings people together. What better way to demonstrate this unity in song than by having people who celebrating our differences and unique contributions to society in this STL Mass Choir. There is still time to join if you are interested in singing. Rehearsal dates and times are on my social media (@Phil_Woodmore) and you can contact me to add your name to the list. There are only 200 slots for the choir and they are filling up fast, so reach out TODAY if you or someone you know wants to participate.
What can the St. Louis community do to get involved and support this event?
Performers: Our performers list is pretty full, if you have any other ideas of performers who might want to be involved. Please reach out, and we will see if there is a way for them to be included.
Sponsors: The STL Little Amal Committee is still looking for a few financial sponsors to fill in the gap of the financial needs for this incredible event. If this is something you or your organization is interested in, all charitable donations can be made to COCA Attn: Little Amal Fund, please contact me for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
St. Louis Community: We are coming to the finish line with details for our performance day. We are working with the National Parks and the Arch Foundation to have an afternoon performance on the arch grounds to celebrate this special girl! There is no sign-up or tickets required to be a part of this experience. Mark your calendars for October 1, more details coming very soon!
How did you get involved with Little Amal?
In 2017, I had the honor of writing an amazing social impact musical called “Antigone in Ferguson” in collaboration with Bryan Doerries and Theater of War Productions. From this experience, I was able to share my work across the country and perform for many audiences over several years. Throughout this process, the production team who took good care of me and my team was The Office, a Brooklyn based production team who does great work for many artistic projects and teams. The Office is the team handling all things Little Amal, and they reached out to me at the beginning of the year to see if I would be interested in partnering with them to create something special for St. Louis to celebrate this symbol of hope and humanity in the form of a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl named Little Amal.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am passionate about creating meaningful art, and specifically art that connects to community engagement. Right now, I am actually finishing a full length musical named, Team M that is surrounding the topic of mental health in communities of color that I hope to share with our St. Louis community in 2024. Like my Team M project, celebrating Little Amal through song and dance is a great opportunity for our community to learn about the important themes surrounding immigration and refugee communities who live in St. Louis. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to celebrate our great city and the things it has to offer.
Stay up-to-date on Little Amal’s visit to St. Louis by following Little Amal Social media or Dr. Phil Woodmore!