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Spring 1998 Concert
Tom T., Artistic Director
Dawn G., Accompanist
(Program Notes follow the list of tunes)
Two Songs by Our Special Guests, the Harrisburg Men's Chorus:
(Womyn's Chorus again:)
A Gay & Lesbian Choral Musical
by David Maddux
with our special guests The Harrisburg Men's Chorus
Artistic Director: Dan K.
Choreographers: Lee M. and Paul F.
About the Composer
Seattle-based composer / arranger / conductor David Maddux has exercised his musical and directorial abilities for more than two decades. David is the conductor and artistic director of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Chorus, where he penned the choral musical, Boys & Girls with Stories. In 1993 The Seattle Mens Chorus premiered his Swellegant Elegance: the life and music of Cole Porter and their Fifth Avenue Theatre performances were aired nationally on PBS. David also performs with and conducts his own 16-voice lesbian and gay music / theatre ensemble, Pro Homo Voci.
A woman attended the 1993 Gay Pride Festival, and heard the Harrisburg Men's Chorus sing. She was so inspired, she asked to join. Chorus leaders offered to join her in founding a women's chorus.
A year later, the Central Pennsylvania Women's Chorus debuted at the same Festival.
We think of the Harrisburg Men's Chorus as our brother chorus. The two choruses have a continuous history of cooperation and mutual support. Members and leaders of each chorus serve on the others board of directors, and we help with one another's fund-raisers.
We were guests of the Men's Chorus at their annual Spring concerts in 1994 and in 1996. In 1994, HMC director Dan Krynak challenged all of us to march and sing at the same time as together we performed Do You Hear the People Sing?, from Les Mis. Two years ago, he raised the bar when the two choruses performed the African-style oratorio, Bendari, much of it in Swahili.
Tonight, we are proud and honored as, for the first time, we welcome the Men's Chorus as our guests.
In the summer of 1996, members of both choruses went to Tampa for the quadrennial GALA Festival, attended by seven thousand singers and chorus leaders (GALA is the international association of gay and lesbian choruses). One of the most exciting performances they enjoyed was Boys & Girls with Stories, and Dan suggested our choruses produce it together. It has taken nearly two years, but tonight is the central Pennsylvania premiere of this unique piece.
This gay and lesbian choral musical has been challenging in many ways. We are doing more choreography than the Women's Chorus has ever attempted before. But perhaps the biggest challenge, and perhaps the biggest surprise, was the "coming out" this performance involved. Every chorus member, whether or not he or she is lesbian or gay, has been comfortable enough with their chorus' lesbian and gay identity to sing in the chorus. But we found that singing this piece required a further step out of the closet which was a little scary.
Every singer and dancer on the stage tonight deserves congratulations for their courage in taking this important step. Learning this work together has deepened our own pride, and has reminded us how important that pride is. In the very best sense, this is what it means to give voice to our community.
Every member of tonight's audience is equally brave to attend this concert. Congratulations to all of us for stepping through to "the other side of the door."
Editor's Later Note: A married woman in her fifties, in the beginning stages of coming to terms with her lesbianism, said after this concert, "Tonight is the first time in my life that I have felt normal."
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