Last December’s Ghost Ship warehouse fire covered the Bay Area with grief. But the fierce unity that grew in its wake forged a sense of community, and inspired composer and Pittsburg resident Arturo Rodriguez to create a requiem mass to honor the 36 victims who died in the blaze and reflect on the resilience of Oakland's creative life. "I thought of it more as a noble statement to them than a sad one," Rodriguez says.
A section of Rodriguez’s new Requiem Sinfonica (Requiem Without Words) premiered at Awesome Orchestra Collective’s open session outside the Oakland Public Library Tuesday evening. While traditional requiems -- masses for the dead -- are usually composed with giant choirs, Rodriguez says the voiceless, instrument-only tribute serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost seven months ago.