Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

How Do We Hear America? A Special Evening of Music by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Raven Chacon

How Do We Hear America? A Special Evening of Music by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Raven Chacon | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Co-Presented with wasteLAnd and ASU Gammage

Americans learn the Pledge of Allegiance as kids, reciting it day after day in public school and seldom giving it meaningful thought.

But what would we hear if we listened—really listened—to the pledge? What would it mean to reimagine it through the unique histories and perspectives of the musicians performing it and the place in which it is performed? Can experiencing sound in an immersive, unexpected, and challenging way help an audience understand art, the U.S., and the world anew?

An ensemble put together by Los Angeles-based music collective wasteLAnd visit Zócalo wielding woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, coins, a match, a police whistle, and more. Standing beside, among, and above the Zócalo audience, they will perform American Ledger no. 1, an experimental visual and aural retelling of the nation’s creation by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, artist, and 2023 MacArthur fellow Raven Chacon. We’ll also be hosting a pre-event performance of Chacon’s Echo Contest in the Herald Examiner Building’s historic lobby, and a post-event reception to celebrate the closing of Zócalo’s 2023 event season.


Rachel Beetz, flute
Wilfrido Terrazas, flute
M.A. Tiesenga, saxophone
David Aguila, trumpet
mattie barbier, trombone
William Roper, tuba
Mark Menzies, violin
Violet Tang, violin
Ashley Walters, cello
Nicholas Deyoe, guitar
Leah Bowden, percussion
Dustin Donahue, percussion


Zócalo invites our in-person audience to join us after the program for a reception, with complimentary food and beverages.

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, as bag searches are not permitted, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are allowed in the venue. Zócalo may be able to provide a limited number of clear bags to help accommodate guests. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

The ASU California Center is inclusive and accessible for all. A platform wheelchair lift is available at our main entrance via Broadway (ground level). Upon checking in for the event, please inform Zócalo staff if you need assistance, or contact events@zocalopublicsquare.org for additional information.

ASU California Center
1111 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Takeaway

Hearing America in Matches, Police Whistles, and Percussion | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Hearing America in Matchsticks, Police Whistles, and Clanking Coins

‘How Do We Hear America?’ Concludes Zócalo’s 2023 Public Programs Season on a High Note

“American Ledger no. 1” sounds different each time. That’s by design, MacArthur fellow Raven Chacon told Zócalo before a performance of his ambitious sound and visual retelling of the nation …