It’s been one of those summers. You think things are going one way, then suddenly life throws a curve, and then a curve back, and all of the sudden you feel like you are on an endless slalom. The ride can be fun, but when you find yourself passing very big trees at a very fast pace, you pray you stay alive until you reach the bottom of the slope. I’m not even a skier, but I can certainly see the parallels. Life reminded me this summer that I must stay present – that I must live in the current moment and not get mired in the past or develop unfounded fear of the future.
As we began to finalize our programming for season 31, it occurred to me that individual words can be touchstones to bring us back to now – particularly operative words that keep us engaged, reminding us of what is important and what is not. For me, it made sense to make a list and combine them into a word cloud that serves as a reminder of not only what the AGMC does, but most importantly why we do it. Those words are part of our season graphic (below).
On our Facebook page, we’re posting every Thursday (our regular rehearsal day) reasons why we sing. Today’s is not the happiest of reasons. This is a day filled with hues of purple, reminding us of the power that bullies can have over us – power that only we can give away or take back. Unfortunately, some young people haven’t developed the strength to take that power back. Many don’t even know they had it to start with.
We sing for these people – people who may have lost their lives in a hate crime, or took their own lives because of the hatred they felt. We also sing to celebrate victories like the repeal of DADT. There are many reasons. But most of all, we sing because speaking just isn’t enough.
Remembering why the AGMC has been around for three decades, I am happy to announce the 31st season. Join us!
We launch our season at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Philip with “Bells in Boyland,” marking a much-anticipated return of one of the most memorable partnerships in AGMC history. Performing again with special guests, the Atlanta Concert ringers, the 100-member chorus is certain to ring out the old and sing in the new in this much-loved annual holiday celebration. Concert-goers will enjoy hearing the stunning Aeolian-Skinner organ at The Cathedral of St. Philip in the program’s centerpiece, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.” Among the other musical offerings this season are “Silver Bells,” “Carol of the Bells,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Judah and His Maccabees” – the most gospel of Hanukkah songs. Join the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus for what has become a tradition for hundreds of families each year. Be there with bells on!
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In March, the chorus moves to the campus of Emory University to celebrate a college tradition: the male glee club, taking our cues from the hit TV series that has revived and redefined this long-standing tradition of school choruses. In this stunning juxtaposition of male standards and contemporary tunes, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus will present an entrée of collegiate favorites, but we’ll be sprinkling that collection with pop classics revived and revisited on a very popular television series. With hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “A House is Not a Home,” “Teenage Dream” and many other pop tunes heard on the show, the AGMC will celebrate the re-birth of some 300 high-school chorus groups as the result of what has become known as the “glee effect.” The campus of Emory University provides the perfect backdrop, where the AGMC and its select ensemble Panache will present this unique tribute to traditional glee club music and modern vocal groups that are truly making a difference in high schools across the country. Join the AGMC as we get our glee on!!
Our summer concert is not to be missed. Be there as the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Our creative team asked this question: Is this milestone a sign that our country is reaching the tipping point on the issue of marriage equality? To answer, we’ve created an inspired concert that explores our country’s past, present, and future with folk music, hymns, jazz, and pop tunes that have all made their political marks in the landscape of American history. Hear patriotic tunes, settings of poetry by writers Langston Hughes, Chief Seattle, and the music of Paul Simon, woven into a tapestry as only the AGMC can. Like a bridge over troubled water, “Red White & You” calls for courage, determination, unity and asks (in what is certain to be a pivotal election year) an important question: What are our true colors? Don’t miss “Red White and You,” also on the campus of Emory University.
Finally, the chorus heads to Denver in July for the 2012 Festival of Choruses presented by GALA Choruses, International. Join us for a pre-festival performance here in Atlanta in late June. More details will be available soon.