One Beat music tour coming – by Barry Courter

25 fellows from 17 countries use music to unify communities

Contributed Photo from 1beat.Org

Local musician Christie Burns, second from left, stands with some of the fellows who were part of OneBeat 2015. This year’s group of fellows will spend three days in Chattanooga from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5.

When organizers of the OneBeat music organization were looking for cities to include as part of a monthlong series of workshops and performances featuring artists from around the globe, Chattanooga was an obvious choice, according to co-founder Jeremy Thal.

So here they come.

“Part of the reason for choosing Chattanooga is just the tour route,” Thal says from the group’s home in New York City. “The things happening here in the music scene also played a big part,” he says.

OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Found Sound Nation from Bang on a Can, an international group dedicated to music. The OneBeat program uses music as a basis for bringing people from around the world together to create new music and also to share ideas and ways to bring people, communities and nations together.

The tour will begin in late September at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, Fla., then head to New Orleans and then in Chattanooga from Oct. 3-5.

The 25 fellows on the tour will spend several days in each city, visiting local venues, teaching centers and attractions. They’ll hold workshops, writing sessions and performances, including a daylong series of events at Miller Plaza.

Exactly what they will be doing is being finalized, according to Christie Burns, a 2015 OneBeat fellow who has been instrumental in bringing the group here. She also was instrumental in bringing the Dosti Project — “One-Beat’s little brother” as Burns calls it — to town this past spring. A smaller scale version of OneBeat, the project brings 10 fellows from Pakistan, India and the United States for a month of collaboration.

While here in October, the OneBeat group will utilize the Chattanooga Public Library’s low latency (LoLa) equipment to collaborate live with the New World Symphony in Miami.

The LoLa setup allows groups in different parts of the world to use the internet to collaborate essentially in real time — no lag time. Thal says the city’s library is an added bonus for bringing OneBeat here.

“I think it’s the coolest library in the country,” he says. “I haven’t been to all of them, but it is so cool and open to new ideas.”

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354


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