Quiet No More: A choral tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

2 minute read
The impact of Stonewall continues 50 years later. (Image courtesy of ANNA Crusis.)
The impact of Stonewall continues 50 years later. (Image courtesy of ANNA Crusis.)

If, like me, you’re the type of queer person who wants to celebrate their identity by shouting it from the rooftops, consider saving your vocal cords and letting two of Philadelphia’s premiere chorale groups do it for you.

ANNA Crusis and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus join queer and allied choirs across the country in performing Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall, a brand-new eight-movement suite co-commissioned by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Anna Crusis and PGMC will perform at the International House on June 22, 2019, at 7pm before joining 500 other performers at Carnegie Hall on June 27.

Lasting impact

The Stonewall Riots began on June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a queer-friendly bar in Greenwich Village. Police raids were routinely conducted on gay bars, until the community finally fought back en masse in several days of riots and protests led by trans women of color. Quiet No More celebrates not only the Stonewall Riots as one of the most important moments in queer American history, but also their lasting impact and the changes they sparked worldwide in the decades since.

Joseph Buches, artistic director of the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, and Miriam Davidson, artistic director of ANNA Crusis Women's Choir, are both excited for their organizations to take part in the largest commission of queer choruses in history. This vocal celebration highlights the power of music to express what other mediums cannot. “It’s one thing to see an art exhibit or see something on a wall, but to hear the words and hear the music tell the story has a powerful effect and I think the audience will get a lot out of this,” Davidson explains.

A full composition

The score features six queer composers, each charged with taking their own direction, and a multimedia presentation with historical photographs and a timeline to go along with the pieces. However, Buches notes, this is not a musical. “We’re not using effects, we’re not using costuming, we’re not acting; we’re just delivering the story.” He hopes this can serve as an educational experience for those less familiar with Stonewall and its impact; “for me, it’s a teaching experience of where we come from, where the LGBTQ community came [from]. For a lot of people they know Stonewall, they know the name, but not the struggle.”

The local performance will take place at the International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street, June 22, 2019, at 7pm. Ticket prices are on a sliding scale from $10 to $35 and can be purchased here. The concert will be interpreted in American Sign Language courtesy of Hands Up Productions, and there will be an accompanying multimedia presentation, during which stage lights will flicker two to three times.

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