Thursday, September 27, 2018

Denver Gay Men's Chorus, Out Loud find hope in a cohesive, supportive community

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 3:18 PM

click to enlarge Home: Street Requiem, Sept. 29, 7:30-9 p.m., First United Methodist Church, rmarts.org. - KARLY GORANSON
  • Karly Goranson
  • Home: Street Requiem, Sept. 29, 7:30-9 p.m., First United Methodist Church, rmarts.org.
In 1982, as the effects of the AIDS pandemic spread, as the U.S. government maintained its silence about the disease, and as community support for those affected became more important than ever, the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus (DGMC) was established — a voice for the LGBTQ community. Two years later, the Denver Women’s Chorus joined them under the umbrella organization Rocky Mountain Arts Association (which included Colorado Springs’ Out Loud Men’s Chorus between 2006-2016, after which Out Loud became its own entity). For decades, these choruses have addressed and advocated for LGBTQ issues from fighting AIDS to supporting marriage equality.

Saturday, the DGMC, Out Loud and select members from 17 other regional choral groups will sing for a different cause: the city’s homeless population. The central piece of Saturday’s concert, “Street Requiem,” was originally composed in 2014 by three Australian choral directors to honor those who have lived and died on the streets. It combines a variety of musical styles, languages and cultural texts from Arabic prayers to African music, gospel and more. Though requiem masses tend to feel heavy, DGMC artistic director James Knapp says that “the work is essentially really optimistic and uplifting.”
“I fell in love with the piece,” Knapp says with infectious reverence. “I fell in love with the mission. I fell in love with the collaborative opportunities, of actually having hands-on experience working with these nonprofits who do noble, wonderful and honorable work with the homeless community and housing insecurity in their cities.” In our city, DGMC and Out Loud have struck up partnerships with four local nonprofits: Westside CARES, Homeward Pikes Peak, Urban Peak and Care and Share Food Bank. A portion of proceeds from this concert will benefit each organization.

Out Loud will begin the show with a selection of hopeful and inspiring tunes, and DGMC and their collaborators will take the stage from there to perform the requiem, a Colorado Springs premiere. The tone of the evening promises to reflect the way DGMC, Out Loud and organizations like them have always dealt with issues of social justice: by finding hope in a cohesive, supportive community.

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