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Rivers Empyrean at the Chicago Wilderness Conservation Congress

  • University of Illinois Chicago Forum 725 West Roosevelt Road Chicago, IL, 60607 United States (map)

At a time when the environment is more threatened than ever with pollution and our life-giving waterways at risk, Fifth House Ensemble traces the life cycle of water from its metaphorical descent from the heavens as rain, to its long journey in streams and rivers informed by conservation experts and ecologists. Featuring a new commission by Fresh Inc Festival alumnus Patrick O’Malley driven by ecological data from Friends of the Chicago River, a new commission by Shawn Okpebholo that celebrates water as a precious resource by transforming it into a musical instrument, alongside music inspired by First Peoples, this program asks what it would mean to return to a sacred conception in which humans are a part of nature rather than beings standing outside of its impact. 

During the 2019-2020 season, Fifth House Ensemble will co-create public performances, events, and educational programs with its organizational partners on the project, including Friends of the Chicago River, the American Indian Center, Wild Mile, Chicago Wilderness, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.