more culture – this time at DPAC

Duke Performing Arts Center

This has been one memorable weekend in terms of exposure to culture. I already posted about Friday night’s amazing concert in downtown Wake Forest¬†the simple witness of light and joy¬†Then, Saturday, Rebekah and I drove over to Durham for the traveling Broadway production of Miss Saigon.

The musical is a Vietnam era re-imagining of Puccini’s classic Madame Butterfly. The result is a powerful social statement that hasn’t lost any of its impact with time.

One moment that took me a little by surprise was the song about the children left behind by American servicemen. I’m not sure if it was the powerful voices and harmonies or the broad truth that settled in on me, but I was left with tears streaming down my face. The mess we leave behind – wherever we go with the arrogant belief that “American interests” are always compelling enough to back up with weapons and destruction – is usually at an unconscionable cost to the innocent, especially children.

Another strong song was “American Dream”. It portrayed the character’s desire for and celebration of gross excess via a graphic play between imagery and dance and phrases such as “guns and cocaine and prayer.” For me, fresh off a study of Ecclesiastes and getting into the book of James, it served as a huge reminder that we have created a world where we worship (religiously) material excess that will always fail to satisfy – “A world where everyone is striving for what is not worth having...”

1-img_2917Bluegrass and then blue-tinged musical theater. Both productions featuring a world-class level of talent. A weekend saturated with culture. And we haven’t even talked about Sunday morning!

“Reporting” from the Duke Performing Arts Center. Peace and – always – more peace, DEREK

culture life music opinion

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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