Triad Pride Performing Arts sings for those once silenced
By: Terry Rader
The Triad Pride Performing Arts will perform “Quiet No More – A Choral Celebration of Stonewall” on May 4 at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. This includes both the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus and the Triad Pride Women’s Chorus. TPPA will be accompanied with an orchestra of 10 and joined by special guests Common Woman Chorus of Durham and The Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus to launch their biggest performance yet. One hundred and thirty voices will sing for those who have been silenced, and possibly awaken those who no longer wish to remain silent, with the mission to bring the community closer together.
This ticketed event is open to the public along with an optional ticketed Gala Post-Concert cocktail party that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus and will feature live music by pianist Fei Fei Wang, desserts and libations to conclude the evening.
The year 2019 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, where members of the LGBTQ community stood together against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. These riots are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States, according to Wikipedia.
William Southerland is TPPA’s choral artistic director and conductor, who is in his sixth season working as a volunteer with the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus. He has plans to attain his Ph.D. in music education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May 2020. He presently holds two degrees in music from Florida State and UNCG and was recently selected as an advisor for community engagement for the National Gala Chorus, a professional organization for gay and lesbian choruses.
Southerland said the works they will be performing started three years ago when two directors, Charlie Beale of New York and Joe Nadeau of Los Angeles, wanted a piece to highlight the range of voices composed by several collaborators to come together in one adhesive performance. He said that there are eight movements and the first three movements set the stage leading up to the riots for an exciting fourth movement. In movements five through eight, the results and the aftermath are revealed in the most complex composition written by Julian Hornick of New York. It tells eight different stories, some of which include the day after the riots when someone discovers in the morning paper that there are others like them. Another story voices being openly gay in politics, and another takes place toward the end of the 1980s and early 1990s during the height of the AIDS epidemic, when a group of activists staged a “die-in” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to honor and call attention to those affected. TPPA is also inviting alumni from the last 20 years of the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus to join in and sing the last song in the first half of the show.
Southerland said that this work is intended to remember and to celebrate people who were lost. He said that conversations today include the LGBTQ community who didn’t live through that era, while others did. He said it’s important to know that the whole piece focuses in a particular way on the voices that did not get heard, specifically “transgender and people of color who actually led the riots, but their stories were downplayed.”
“In our 20 years, we’ve not done a project this big,” Southerland said. “We are basically telling the story of the Gay Rights Movement through song, poetry, and pictures. We function as a team with a production committee made up of singers and 15 others who made this event possible.”
He said this is the first time they have rented a large venue with projection. Stephen Hale, the artistic director of Triad Pride Acting Company, directs the actors who have speaking parts.
TPPA is an organization that thrives through an all-volunteer nonpaid staff. Stephen Hartley serves as the vice chair, and head of fundraising and development. He said that they would be honoring two of their long-term members since day one, Michael Grant and Anthony Moore, during the concert and they will both sing as well.
“We hope people will come out to celebrate TPPA, who without the support of community would not exist,” Hartley said.
TPPA was formed in 1999 as the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus. The Triad Pride Women’s Chorus was added in 2016 and began its first rehearsals in January 2017. On July 1, 2017, the organization changed the name of the 501(c)(3) to TPPA. TPPA added its third group, the Triad Pride Acting Company on July 1, 2018.
Both choruses accept new singers in August and January. Rehearsal visits are open as well. Nonsinging volunteers who want to assist with production, fundraising, marketing, ticketing, rehearsal support, and administrative support are always welcomed. Details regarding TPPA benefit appearances for outreach and paid performances can be found on their website, www.triadprideperformingarts.org/.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, storyteller, poet, wellness herbalist, flower essences practitioner, and owner of Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/house sitting.
May 4 at 7-9:30 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro, Student/Senior $15, Adult $30, Concert & post-show party $60. May 4 at 9:30 p.m., Gala Post-Concert cocktail party in the Renaissance Room at the Carolina Theatre. A $3 facility fee and NC sales tax will be added to each ticket. To avoid this charge, call the Carolina Theatre Box Office at (336) 333-2605 Mon. – Fri. from noon until 5 p.m., or visit the Carolina Theatre in person.