By Thesanica M. Chan

World Premier of Composer David Newby’s 'Dealey Plaza' at Antelope Valley College

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination will be on Friday, November 22nd, and Antelope Valley College’s Dr. David Newby, Artistic Director of the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Choral, has chosen this very date and weekend to perform Mozart’s Requiem and to debut Dealey Plaza, his very own musical composition inspired by the historical event.  The composition's name is inspired by Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas, the site of the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Newby was nine years old at the time of the JFK assassination. “I still remember like most everybody else who was alive at the time. I remember the day very well.” It would fascinate him throughout the years. “I thought about the assassination for years. I’ve followed it over the years, particularly in the last twenty as more information has come out. There have been charges of conspiracy almost from the very beginning, but so much information has been kept secret. As more and more information came out, the case became more obviously a conspiracy.”

Newby decided to get involved in the ongoing discussion. “I wanted to do something musically. About five years ago, I got the idea to try and write some music, to see if I could actually make it a viable concert work. I wanted to make something accurate and represent facts in the case, not wild speculation. I wanted to focus on the aspects of the event and the events themselves that were the most interesting.” On a special Antelope Valley note, it was composed with the Antelope Valley College’s orchestra and choir in mind. “I wanted to have something that would be interesting for the musicians, challenging but also doable, manageable.”

Dealey Plaza promises to be a visual, aural, and informative performance.

A rock band is set to perform alongside the orchestra, with the music itself a blend of modern, classical, jazz, and rock. Newby’s choices of styles are deliberate and he emphasizes a key interest: the different locale involved in the case. “The alleged assassin had gone to Mexico; the dynamic of the Kennedy administration tied up into Cuba; President Johnson being from Texas: all of these different locales have musical styles associated with them. I tried to weave that into the project a little bit.”

Dealey Plaza is interwoven with important visuals: as the music is performed, video and audio from relevant historical footage will be projected for the audience to see. When asked if the work would have been composed at all if the videos and recordings did not exist, Newby admits “The answer’s probably no. So much of what I’ve learned about the assassination has been through these videos. There are lots of wonderful books, but there are many, many wonderful videos where people have very carefully done research and it’s been recorded. They’re just great resources and a great inspiration for what I’ve done.”

Newby thinks it will be an emotional evening on the 22nd. “After fifty years, you really get to see how the world changed and you get to see how the Kennedy assassination really helped to change the world to the way it is today.”

Find details about the upcoming concert here.


The Antelope Valley College (AVC) Performing Arts Theatre is located at 3041 West Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536. Buy tickets in three ways: online at; over the phone with the box office at 661-722-6580; or in person at the box office, which is open two hours prior to each performance. More information concerning ticket purchase options can be found at


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