Project Resilience: A Storm We Call Progress

Oct 31, 2020

What do you do if you're a music major at USU and want to add your voice to the call to take action on climate change?

Two violin players, Laurana Roderer and Kirsten Barker began to brainstorm:

They began with their string quartet. Music to convey urgency, a sense of danger. Yes. Words for a clear message. They added three singers. They engaged a talented composer, Emma Cardon. An ensemble opera was in the works. They chose a title: A Storm We Call Progress.

Now for the rest of the words. Looking back, Laurana says, "The only way was to write a mess of a first draft and brace yourself for a lot or revision."  

Eventually the story boiled down to three characters making a journey between storms: A Storm of industrialization that used to be called progress got us all into the mess we are in with climate change. Will we be able to make a new kind of storm to get us out of this mess?

The trailer for the premiere scheduled for last April began boldly, "We stand at the tipping point, darkness or a future teeming with brightness?"

And then COVID struck.  

The university closed the performance hall. The project needed to transition to a virtual format—new territory to navigate that caused a six month delay. The good news is that this Saturday, at 7 p.m., the show will premiere online.

You won't be able to hear thunderous applause bouncing off the walls of the performance hall, but it's more than likely you will want to leap to your feet wherever you are watching and shout "Bravo! Bravo!”—to all the brave souls who breathed life into this opera in spite of  the odds.

You can sign up for your free ticket at