Encore, the AGMC’s annual signature event, was held in April and was again a rousing success, highlighting and supporting the ongoing service of the chorus, as well as other individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community that reflect the chorus’ mission of equality, inclusiveness and justice.
The event, held at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, was a glittering night that began with a special patron sponsor reception, followed by a silent auction of unique vacation packages, original artwork and more. A catered dinner led into the awards ceremony hosted by radio personality Melissa Carter, with the evening being capped off by Broadway cabaret-style entertainment by Guyton Maurice as well as Robert Ray and his talented group of performers.
Voices of Note Awards: Noblitt, Ellis and PwC
As well as being a great annual evening to support the ongoing activities of the chorus, Encore enables the AGMC to salute others in the community whom we greatly respect – people and organizations working to make our community a safer, more accepting place for everyone. Honored that night were:
Josh Noblitt, Saint Mark United Methodist Church’s Minister of Social Justice
At the extremely gay-friendly and community outreach-focused St. Mark UMC – the gracious home of the AGMC — Rev. Noblitt’s specialized ministry involves leading program and volunteer opportunities related to all social justice issues. He also works against the death penalty in Georgia as a Mitigation Specialist at the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Georgia.
Rev. Noblitt was in the news when he and a friend were attacked in Piedmont Park, fighting back against a group of young black men. Since then, he has volunteered on an Atlanta Police Department task force to help protect gays from such attacks, and has worked to maintain a dialogue among people who only know hatred of gay people. That compassion and dialogue has extended to those participating in his own attack, and his pleas for understanding and mercy in court led to them having reduced sentences as juveniles so they might have a chance to learn from their mistakes and ultimately lead more-productive lives.
Linda Ellis, Health Initiative Executive Director
Executive Director of the Health Initiative for over a decade, Linda Ellis’ career in our community goes back more than 15 years. She was the first Executive Director of Youth Pride, playing a major role in creating that organization. As the Executive Director of The Health Initiative, she has expanded both the reach and reputation of the organization, developing a strong network of healthcare providers committed to providing culturally sensitive care to lesbians and other members of the LGBT community. Increasingly, the Initiative focuses on expanding access to supportive healthcare for under- and uninsured members of the Atlanta area’s LGBT community.
Ellis (pictured left, with AGMC Board Chair Ann Pinyan) has also worked hard to expand the Initiative’s partnerships with mainstream providers and systems. She currently serves as co- chair of Fulton County’s Smoke Free Community Coalition and is a member of Piedmont Healthcare’s Bioethics Committee, Emory University’s Hope Clinic’s Community Advisory Board and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Family Advisory Council.
PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP)
PwC is one of the strongest supporters of equality and diversity in the corporate world. A huge and highly respected worldwide professional services company, last year PwC worked with 419 of the companies in the Fortune Global 500. In the U.S. and globally, PwC ranked in the top three of DiversityInc’s top companies for diversity.
A culture of giving back is ingrained in everything the firm does. In Atlanta, PwC focuses on the key areas of youth and education, health and hu-man services, and the arts, as well as supporting people in becoming responsible leaders in the community.
PwC is a major contributor to organizations that focus on improving the lives of GLBT individuals, including The Point Foundation, The Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD. The firm has received a score of 100% on the HRC Corporate Equality Index every year since 2006, and recently announced a policy adding tax equalization to the existing domestic partner health benefits program. This puts this organization among only a handful of employers that have taken this important step towards equality for GLBT employees.
For over five years, the AGMC has enjoyed a partnership with PwC, which continues to provide much-needed support including the printing of concert programs and other materials.
Representing PwC at Encore was Colby Conner (right, with AGMC Executive Director Crystal Anderson), a PwC partner who co-sponsors the Atlanta Open group for GLBT staff and straight allies. He also serves on PwC’s GLBT Partner Advisory Board, advising national firm leadership on matters relevant to the GLBT community within and beyond the firm.
Salo’s Halo Award: Braden Rolland
A final special award was given by chorus singing and associate members to one of our own. The Salo’s Halo award, named for former long-time volunteer graphic designer and singer Bob Salo who died in 2003, recognizes an AGMC member who donates his or her time and talents far above what is already a high benchmark for chorus members.
The 2012 Salo’s Halo recipient was Braden Rolland, who leads our non-singing “Fifth Section” of associate members. Rolland works endless hours behind the scenes at all concerts, rehearsals and other events such as Encore to ensure the chorus is supported and represented in the best manner possible. He is a chef for the ADPi Sorority at Georgia Tech.
Applause, Photos and What’s Ahead
Kudos to the many hard-working volunteer members of the Encore Committee and to everyone who donated money and auction items, made purchases, attended, performed and/or otherwise volunteered to help produce this important event.
Watch for details in future issues of Voices of Note regarding our next Encore event, and other activities supporting the ongoing mission of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. We deeply appreciate your support!