Sidelined on the 2016 campaign trail is the issue of nuclear weapons and the cost of trillions of dollars to maintain the country’s nuclear arsenal. 

The program will raise awareness for nuclear disarmament as Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PAND) with Peace Action of Cleveland will take stage, Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Barking Spider Tavern in Cleveland for the free musical performance of “Marching Towards Peace: Remembering Nagasaki.” Joining Cleveland Orchestra members and friends will be local participants from the 1986 Great Peace March against nuclear weapons during the march’s 30th anniversary. 

     The public event (no tickets needed) begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Barking Spider Tavern, 11310 Juniper Rd. in Cleveland’s University Circle.

“Raising awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the need to move cautiously towards their abolition is our primary objective.  We seek to do this by reaching people through the arts,” said Francis Chiappa, co-president of Peace Action of Cleveland.

What was common knowledge in the days of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze and the Great Peace March has long since faded,” he said, explaining the consequences of even a limited nuclear war has possibilities to end human life on Earth.

     Cleveland’s Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PAND) formed in 1984 to promote peace and to abolish nuclear weapons by reminding the public of the destruction wrought by the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   They joined groups of artists and performers in other cities, like New York City and San Francisco, to use their talents to make this happen.

     The local PAND evolved out of Musicians Against Nuclear Arms (MANA), organized by members of the Boston Symphony, recalls Diane Mather, a former cellist with the Cleveland Orchestra and now a performer with chamber groups.  They had their first concert in 1982.

     “It became obvious that other performers and artists had concerns about nuclear weapons,” Mather said.   In 1984, PAND had its first public concert.

The 1984 concert filled Severance Hall and inspired a generation of activists with passionate musical statements, recalls Chiappa.

    Mather is one of the original PAND members and reflected on how two major roles in her life—mother and musician—raised concerns for the future welfare of her young children.

She said it motivated her to use her musical talents to raise awareness in an effort to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  

About the 2016 Event:

     In this year’s program, PAND musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and friends will transport the audience from war to peace through selected movements from works by Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, Dohnanyi, and Brahms for string trios, piano trios and a piano quartet. 

Along with Mather, performers are Christine Hill, piano, Cleveland Institute of Music; Yu Jin, viola, Kent State University; and Ioana Missits and Emma  Shook, violin, Cleveland Orchestra.

Peace Action of Cleveland members, who participated in the 1986 Great Peace March (GPM) for Nuclear Disarmament, will sing songs and talk about the importance of the march.

Among the 650 march participants were Musicians Doug McWilliams (vocals, guitar) and Jani Wanner (vocals), who walked GPM’s entire route from Los Angeles to New York to Washington DC.  They will play, sing and discuss traveling cross-country and stopping in small towns and big cities to talk about the perils of nuclear weapons worldwide.