WEST VILLAGE – The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots with a performance of “Quiet No More” at Carnegie Hall.
Tonight, PIX11 was invited to a behind-the-scenes rehearsal. “Quiet No More has taken two years to put together,” said artistic director Charlie Beale. “Initially it was the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. We jointly commissioned it for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Quiet No More is a choral suite written by six LGBTQ composers in 8 movements. Beale says it’s meant to inspire, educate and move people to action. Through choral singing and the spoken word, it expresses the history and legacy of the Stonewall uprising – police raided the iconic gay bar in June, 1969 leading to 6 days of riots and the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
“The piece is about the past, the present and the future it starts in 1969 so were telling the story of the uprising and what happened,” said Beale. “Some of the initial history focuses on white gay men and ignored the people of color and transpeople, many of whom went to Stonewall at the time so one of the things we wanted to do is set that record straight.”
Beale says the performance is about moving people emotionally and making them both laugh and cry.
“The art is about moving people, but it’s also about activism changing their minds, so that they start to act more and the world changes as a result of the art we make,” said Beale.
As we mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it comes at a time of greater acceptance but also during a period where we’ve seen a rise in hate crimes.
“The audience have been taken to a different place in the piece and understand more about the uprising and what it was and also realize that now is the moment we need that Stonewall spirit,” said Beale.
Over 500 singers from 10 different choruses will perform at Carnegie hall on June 27 at 7 pm. Tickets are sold out.