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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 11
Seattle Men's Chorus' upcoming concert to honor two icons in Gay Rights Movement
Arts & Entertainment
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Seattle Men's Chorus' upcoming concert to honor two icons in Gay Rights Movement

Critically acclaimed LEGACY concert to celebrate key tipping points in Seattle's Gay Rights Movement SEATTLE MEN'S CHORUS
'LEGACY'
TWO MEN, TWO STORIES:
HARVEY MILK AND TYLER CLEMENTI
MCCAW HALL
March 28-29


Two critically acclaimed choral works, 'I Am Harvey Milk' and 'Tyler's Suite' will be performed by the Seattle Men's Chorus (SMC) and presented together as one powerful concert: LEGACY on March 28 and 29 inside Seattle's McCaw Hall. (A special preview concert will be presented on March 21 in Renton and in April outreach concerts will be performed in Olympia and Bremerton - see details below.) For the highly anticipated spring show LEGACY, SMC will shine an extra-bright spotlight on their mission, their vision, and the power that hundreds of voices can have to unify and make change.

The assassination of San Francisco politician and activist Harvey Milk and the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi have represented critical tipping points for the Gay rights movement in our country and helped galvanize Seattle's local LGBT community into action. On the night of Milk's death in November 1978 the national Gay choral movement was born when a group of men, who would later become the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, performed at Milk's candlelight vigil. A few months later, in 1979, Seattle Men's Chorus was formed. On September 21, 2010, spurred by a growing number of Gay teen suicides across the country earlier in the year, Seattle Stranger Editor Dan Savage recorded his landmark 'It Gets Better' video. One day later, on September 22, 2010 Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge as a result of cyberbullying and the locally grown 'It Gets Better' campaign snowballed into a worldwide movement.

Inspired by their own true stories, LEGACY is a soaring celebration of the human spirit that provokes as many emotions as it has musical stylings. From disco to Broadway, classical to operatic, LEGACY's musical storytelling spans despair, love, and hope as it remembers these men through the song cycles of their lives. The uplifting nature of these moving works from some of America's great contemporary composers demonstrates that together we can continue to build a powerful legacy. For Tyler Clementi and Harvey Milk, their legacy is the ever-growing number of advocates and activists that are motivated to better the lives of others as a result of their tragic deaths. Members of Tyler Clementi's family will be in attendance on March 28 and 29.

'Tyler's Suite,' presented in collaboration with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, is an eight-piece choral movement that tells of Tyler Clementi's too-short life and tragic death. The project was brought together under the musical leadership of Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked, Pippin), who also composed one of the pieces. Other composers who contributed to 'Tyler's Suite' are Lance Horne, John Bucchino, Ann Hampton Calloway, John Corigliano, Nolan Gasser, Jake Heggie, and Craig Carnelia, with librettist Pamela Stewart.

'I am Harvey Milk' is a gripping oratorio written and performed by Tony and Grammy Award nominated composer Andrew Lippa (Big Fish, The Addams Family) and includes the last recorded words by the civil rights icon (https://vimeo.com/90443016). Part choral work, part musical theatre Andrew Lippa explains his decision to take on the project, 'As I saw it, it was my turn. Harvey was 48; I'm 48. Harvey was born Jewish; I was born Jewish. Harvey was Gay; I'm happy. Most of all, I wanted to find out how I felt - what I really felt, thought, needed, wanted, dreamed about, feared, loathed, craved - when it came to being a Gay man, a Gay man in a world made much better because of people like Harvey Milk.'

SMC and the Tyler Clementi Foundation are committed to ending youth bullying. A new national poll commissioned by the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Workplace Options shows that bullying is seen as more of a problem for young Americans today than ever before. It found that 64% of American adults believe bullying to be more prevalent among young people today than it was during their own childhood. With the proliferation of social media, text messaging, and other forms of instant communication, the threat and reach of bullying has expanded. Through SMC's Youth Ticket Program over 200 self-identified Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender youth will have the opportunity to experience this concert for free and benefit from the power and support one feels by simply being in a room with over 2,000 'out' or allied individuals. SMC has contacted more than 40 area LGBT support organizations and schools and offered free tickets for self-identified LGBT youth and their friends and families. SMC will make arrangements for free transportation to the concert, if requested.

One hour prior to the McCaw Hall performances on March 28 and 29, SMC will host a 30-minute pre-concert discussion on bullying prevention, social challenges facing today's teens and ways to combat aggressive behavior to create a more accepting and open community. Panelists will include members of the Clementi family, local author Brent Hartinger (Geography Club www.brenthartinger.com/), and representatives from Sound Mental Health.

Tickets to McCaw Hall Seattle performances are $28-$68 and available at www.SeattleMensChorus.org or over the phone at (206) 388-1400. The Seattle area box office is open Monday through Friday, Noon-7 p.m. Friends and Family Preview tickets ($10.00 each) for the March 21st preview concert at 8 p.m. at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center (400 S. 2nd St., Renton) are available by calling the SMC box office at (206) 388-1400 or at the door on the day of the preview.

Seattle Men's Chorus will perform LEGACY in Seattle on Saturday, March 28, 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, March 29, 2:00 p.m., at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center - (206) 388-1400, www.SeattleMensChorus.org; in Olympia on Saturday, April 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Washington Center for Performing Arts - (360) 753-8586, www.washingtoncenter.org; and on Saturday, April 18, 7:00 p.m. at the Admiral Theatre - (360) 373-6743, www.admiraltheatre.org

About Seattle Men's Chorus | Seattle Women's Chorus
Founded in 1979, the internationally renowned Seattle Men's Chorus, along with Seattle Women's Chorus (founded in 2002), are the largest community choruses in America; and the largest Gay choruses in the world. Flying House Productions, home of Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus, ranks third among the state's music organizations with over 430 members of SMC and over 300 members of SWC.

SMC Mission
To entertain, enlighten, unify and heal audiences and members
To use the power of words and music to recognize the value of Gay and straight people and their relationships

SMC Vision
A world that accepts and values its Gay and Lesbian citizens

Courtesy of Seattle Men's Chorus

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