By Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the San Diego Women’s Chorus (SDWC) is producing a unique piece of work that will demonstrate in song the impact and heritage of Stonewall in a two-day event at Lincoln High School on May 18-19.
Kathleen Hansen, artistic director, San Diego Women’s Chorus said “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall” represents the struggles, successes and continued need for visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. She added that in addition to the featured composition of “Quiet No More,” the concert will feature songs of empowerment and the importance of community.
“The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising is the perfect opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going,” Hansen said. “‘Start at home. Change what you can. Never again be silent.’ is the admonition of the final movement. We are reminded that in our country and in our world, there are many intersections of marginalization and inequality. We need to speak up. We need to be heard. These are vitally important messages for us to share together with our community.”
Hansen said that commission piece, “Quiet No More,” comprises the second half of the upcoming concert. The first half will be filled with songs of community and hope including “Revolution” (by The Beatles), “Fight the Power” (by The Isley Brothers), and “You Will Be Found” (from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”).
“We will have an outstanding slate of special guests and soloists, and audience members will most certainly leave with a full heart,” Hansen said.
“Quiet No More” is the brainchild of the artistic directors of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s chorus of Los Angeles, said Hansen. It seeks to tell the story of the Stonewall riots on their 50th anniversary, and importantly, to include some of the forgotten or whitewashed aspects of this important time in history.
“Women, people of color, trans folk and gender non-conforming perspectives sometimes get lost in the re-telling,” Hansen continued. “As time marches forward, it is easy to forget the struggles of those that put their lives and careers on the line to demand civil rights — and this piece tells those stories well. As we prepare this work, we are finding an unexpected depth of emotion within the music. It is our hope to portray the excitement, fear, hope, and resilience surrounding the change that the Stonewall uprising of 1969 sparked.”
Hansen said while artistic programming is something that happens primarily behind the scenes, she spends a tremendous amount of time and energy on it.
“Finding the balance of what fits with the theme, is wonderful for audiences and singers, has both flow and musical contrast with the other pieces, and is fulfilling for me artistically is a real puzzle,” she said. “But I am pleased with how this program has come together.”
Hansen hopes that people will walk away from this concert with a renewed appreciation for those who have paved the way for rights that so many of us enjoy and take for granted today.
“I also hope people will walk away with a renewed dedication to standing up for what is right and fighting not only for their own rights, but the rights of others,” Hansen continued. “We can rejoice in what we have accomplished while still holding a flame of anger and dedication to action for changes that are still needed.”
SDWC is the only stand-alone treble/women’s co-commissioning chorus. Hansen said that part of the magic of the chorus is that regardless of size, it has always stayed true to its mission and its roots in encouraging women’s creativity, celebrating diversity, and inspiring social action.
“As far as growth of the chorus is concerned, I believe that our mission-centered work fills a need in our community: a safe space for women and non-binary folk to gather and make meaningful art together,” Hansen said. “Whether we’re singing about emotionally charged issues or dancing and singing a modern pop song, every time we are together, it is just such a beautiful and palpable vibe — I think people want to be a part of that.
“Come see us! Buy a ticket! Share on social media! Tell all of your friends!” Hansen continued. “We have an elaborate matrix of singers, production team, ushers, program design, lights, sound, costuming and more that work together for each show. If you would like to volunteer time, talent, resources, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the right people.”
Tickets: $30 for VIP seats that include reserved seating/best views and priority access (sold in advance only). General admission: $20 in advance, $25 at door. Discounted: $18 in advance, $20 at door. For youth (3-17), students (college students, etc.), military, seniors, disabled. Children 3 and under are free.
For tickets, visit sdwc.org or find the San Diego Women’s Chorus on Facebook.
— Albert Fulcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.