Love and resistance—Stonewall 50—Quiet No More
For Stonewall 50 ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus will premiere Quiet No More in Philadelphia. The show is in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and the LGBT civil rights movement. The program was commissioned by 22 LGBT choruses nationwide.
Quiet No More tells the story of the movement through song, poetry, pictures and videos. Set to be performed in multiple locations across the country throughout June, it is the largest collaboration in the history of LGBT choruses. Quiet No More honors the courage of those pioneers for social justice and equality. And it encourages each of us to join in the renewed spirit of resistance for the future; and, most importantly, it sings for all of us.
On Saturday, June 22, Quiet No More will be presented by the International House, 3701 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia at 8 pm.
I had the opportunity to speak with the directors of both of these legendary choruses, Miriam Davidson (Artistic Director, ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir) and Joseph Buches (Artistic Director, Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus) about this upcoming concert and the ‘pièce de résistance’ performance on June 27, 2019 at Carnegie Hall in New York City with members of LGBT choruses from around the country.
Will Quiet No More be premiered by other LGBT choruses around the country in June?
Miriam Davidson: Yes, during the month of June choruses across the country will be premiering Quiet No More in their cities, with the culminating world premiere in NYC at Carnegie Hall on June 27.
Is this the first time ANNA and the PGMC are collaborating together?
MD: ANNA and PGMC have performed together over the years. Recently, I’d say the past three years, we made the commitment to perform together regularly.
Can you share what other LGBT choruses are involved?
MD: Sure. The primary forces behind this commission are the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. In addition, there are 17 other choruses from across the country who participated in helping fund the project. They include ANNA and PGMC. Some of them are: Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, Lesbian and Gay Chorus of San Francisco, Seattle Men’s Chorus, San Diego Women’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s and Denver Women’s Chorus, to name just a few.
Do you know if any of your members were at Stonewall the night of the riot?
MD: None from ANNA were, but many remember the times and the struggles.
Joseph Buches: None from PGMC. But like ANNA, those [that were] around 50 years ago do remember!
If you could, summarize what this anniversary means to you,and how important it is for our future generations.
MD: Historically it’s so important to make sure that younger generations know about that period of time and the long lasting effects it is had on our movement. The riots were a breaking point where a group of people decided they were no longer going to accept the way things were. We want our audience to apply the same idea to their own lives and leave feeling inspired to make change happen.
Stonewall was one moment in history. But Stonewall moments continue into the present and future. When our Stonewall Moment happens, will we join in?
How exciting to be performing at Carnegie Hall on the 27th! How many of your members will be a part of that performance?
MD: From ANNA there will be 10 singers.
JB: PGMC has 16 singers attending.
Do you know how many voices in total are expected for that performance?
JB: Close to 600 singers!
When do you anticipate working together again?
MD: For the past several years we have put on a community concert called Together. The show will be on January 26, 2020 at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Philadelphia. This is a very exciting project, with a performance that promises to be passionate and powerful. Its message is important. Come out and see it.
Important indeed, for young and old, but especially the young. They need to know and understand what happened 50 years ago when the first Pride was a RIOT!