Letter: Culture goes to prison

On October 13, an ensemble from the Lima Symphony Orchestra was escorted across the grounds of Allen Correctional Institution and into the institution’s chapel, where they were to share their gift of music to an unlikely audience in an unlikely place. Yes, seven members of the Lima Symphony Orchestra were warmly welcomed by a room full of men dressed in blue prison uniforms, offenders housed at the Allen Correctional Institution.

This small group of musicians played classical music to a packed house. The selection included the music of some of the greats like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart along with a bit of history about the piece and the composer. The ensemble also entertained by putting a classical spin on a few contemporary works by such groups as the Beatles and Queen. The exposure to a live performance of classical music was probably a once in a life time opportunity for some in attendance and quite possibly a life changing experience for others. We live in an age that touts cultural diversity and here in one afternoon a bit of that diversity was front and center in a place that could truly use more of it.

Seldom do we hear about good things in prison, yet here is an example of just that.

True rehabilitation is through self-edification, and self-edification comes from within, it is enlightenment. It’s not something that can be bought or sold at the market, it is not something that can be force fed, it is, if I may be so bold, the things in life that helps us see the world anew.

Thanks to the Lima Symphony Orchestra for sharing your gift of music.

Johnny W. Hurt, Allen Correctional Institution

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