Monday, January 07, 2008

My Peace Cantata To Be Performed by SF Gay Mens Chorus



I'm pleased, excited, elated and thrilled to announce that on Dec. 19, 2008, the great San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Kathleen McGuire, will be performing my new "cantata for peace" called "Pantheon Bar & Grill" with full orchestra at Davies Hall in San Francisco as half of their annual Christmas concert.

I began writing this piece four years ago, beginning with a core of four lyrics written by my friend, Rev. Peter Carman, who you might remember is the pastor of Lake Ave. Baptist Church in Rochester, New York.

Beginning with those songs, I began adding numbers one at a time as I pondered the philosophies of relentless non-violence and watched the conflicts in the Middle East. If you're been reading this blog and following the videos, you've seen some of the songs: My Thanksgiving Prayer and Holy Dirt are but two.

One new song, which you might enjoy listening to, examines the deadening result of violence on the soul. It's called "Dead Inside" (title inspired by my friend and blogger, Joe.My.God.) and the demo recording is sung by Alexandra Billings.

What makes this even more thrilling is the fact that this next year will be the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, the FIRST gay mens chorus ever assembled. Few organizations have represented the gay community as well as gay choruses, which has sprung up in cities all over the country.

It's also the 30th anniversary of the death of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office. He was assassinated by a crazed homophobe who blamed it all on having eaten too many Twinkies, an absurd defense accepted by the jury which gave him a light sentence, infuriating our community and leading to a renewed vigor to fight against the prejudice, hatred and discrimination leveled against us.

And as exciting as it has been for me to have written the scores for two off-Broadway shows, the idea of sitting in a huge concert hall and having my songs sung by a 250-voice choir accompanied by an orchestra on a major anniversary of the community I love so very much is about as thrilling a notion as I can possibly imagine.

And best of all, it's real and it's going to happen.
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