The complete devastation and death in the aftermath of the 2011 tornado was a shock to Dr. Hubert Bird. Dr. Bird was born in Joplin and is a composer and conductor, known both nationally and internationally. Needing to talk about it to a close friend, Dr. Bird called the retired director of the U.S. Army Band, Colonel Bryan Shelburne. The conversation led the two men to realize that an artistic expression in music and voice could serve as one way for Hubert to communicate his own sorrow and that of the community of Joplin.
Dr. Bird went to work on the original composition. It was performed initially in Joplin in 2012. Performers included Joplin’s All City Singers, a chorus of more than 100 high school students, a forty five-piece orchestra with members from across the country, and Bird’s daughter and son-in law, Jennifer and Bjoern Arvidsson as soloists.
Since that first performance, Dr. Bird has continued to develop the piece. While the core has remained unchanged, new material has been added, including new vocal and narrative sections. Furthermore, Danny Craven, a Joplin High School teacher, is developing a visual element for it.
Performance of the updated version of “The Other Side of Storm” is scheduled during the Joplin Proud five year anniversary event. It will be held in Joplin High School’s new Performing Arts Center on the evening of May 20 and 21. Open to the public, there is no charge for admission, but tickets will be required. Ticket information will be available at Joplinproud.com closer to the May dates.