Sunday, June 2nd, 2019


5:00 pm – 6:00 pm


Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin's Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19118

The last seven words of the unarmed before they were killed by police.

St. Martin’s final Choral Evensong of the season, on June 2, 2019 at 5:00 p.m., will feature the Philadelphia Premiere of "The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed" composed by Joel Thompson. This is a musical setting with orchestra of the last words said by seven unarmed African American men before they were killed by the police. This is offered in recognition of Gun Violence Awareness month, and National Gun Violence Awareness Day, later that week on June 7.

After being troubled by the onslaught of killings of unarmed black men and finding Shirin Barghi’s #lastwords project, Joel Thompson began his journey in writing this composition. Using the text structure of the Joseph Haydn’s "Seven Last Words of Christ", Joel chose seven last words from Shirin’s artwork that formed the structure of the work. Of the piece, Joel says, “Liturgical settings of the 'Seven Last Words of Christ' are not attempting to demonize the Roman soldiers...but to stir within the listner an empathy towards the suffering of Jesus. Similarly, this piece is not an anti-police protest work; it is really a meditation on the lives of these black men and an effort to focus on their humanity, which is often eradicated in the media to justify their deaths.

Evensong is a contemplative service of music and prayer, and is sung daily in many cathedrals and churches throughout the world. All are welcome. Childcare is available.