Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Message in the music

Gay Men’s Chorus reaching out to region’s queer youth with concert, program

Published

on

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
‘The Kids are All Right’
With guests Candace Gingrich-Jones and Dreams of Hope
Saturday at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $20-$50
G.W. Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street, N.W.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington has a one-off youth-themed performance scheduled for this weekend. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

As a veteran high school music teacher and counselor, Jeff Buhrman saw first-hand the need for affirmation and support for LGBT youth. When he became artistic director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, he made it a priority to start a youth outreach program.

Though the Chorus’s GenOUT program has been in existence since 2001 offering free concert tickets to local LGBT youth, the Chorus has ramped up its efforts in the “It Gets Better” era. Saturday’s “The Kids are All Right” concert, the Chorus’s second of the current season, is especially created to dovetail with the program. It’s a busy time for the Chorus — last weekend its Rock Creek Singers ensemble performed with the Camp Rehoboth Chorus. Its all-male production of “The Rocky Horror Show” debuts in mid-March.

“(Saturday’s concert) is designed especially to serve the mission of our GenOUT program,” Buhrman says. “We are specifically reaching out to youth for ‘The Kids Are All Right.’ We’re sharing our stories we think they will relate to … the support of a mother who helps us get through, having a safe place in school like the high school music room or the theater room so we don’t have to go into the scary cafeteria during lunch … we’re using video, songs and narration to share our stories about the times we felt different growing up and exploring how it gets better.”

The Chorus will be joined by Candace Gingrich-Jones (Newt’s lesbian half-sister), who’ll provide narration for a musical dramatization of the story “Oliver Button is a Sissy,” and Dreams of Hope, a Pittsburgh-based teen performance ensemble whose 12 guests will use self-penned material such as poetry, song and dance to, as Buhrman puts it, “share their feelings about being teenagers in today’s world.”

The Chorus will pull with its usual eclectic reaches — everything from Broadway to country — to perform songs that flesh out the queer-affirming theme (the title is merely borrowed from the 2010 film — it’s not a musical telling of that story).

Buhrman knew of the Dreams of Hope chorus through an association of gay choruses of which the Washington Chorus is also a member. Dreams will perform a 25-minute segment then join the GMCW for the finale.

“It’s a joy when we are able to actually share the stage with another group,” Buhrman says. “It’ll be fun working with them.”

Jay Garvey, a 27-year-old GMCW baritone who works as a co-facilitator of the GenOUT program, agrees.

“We’re gonna see some beautiful stories shining through and that’s what the Chorus does best,” he says. “There are these little moments in life that every LGBT person can understand and relate to, so we hope audiences will find themselves in these narratives, especially youth who are going through it now.”

But while the intentions are obviously great, does quality suffer when so much of the material is new, autobiographical and unproven? Buhrman, who has solid classical training, says it’s not an issue.

“If you had been at our rehearsal the other night, you wouldn’t ask that question,” he says. “Music, and good music, is at the heart of everything we do. You’ll hear a range of styles, expansively beautiful melodies, great lyrics — we can always find music that will correspond to our experiences as LGBT people and if we can’t find something ourselves, we either commission it … or find something and have one of our people arrange it. … It’s why it sometimes takes us one-to-two years to plan a show. We want to find exactly the right music to speak at that exact moment.”

The GenOUT program is run by GMCW staff such as Taunee Grant, its director of marketing and communications, and co-facilitators Garvey, Nic Baker and Richard Bennett, Chorus members who volunteer their time to the program. About 94 schools and organizations in the region attend Chorus shows through the program which gives free tickets to about 300 LGBT students each season. “Pink Nutcracker,” the Chorus’s well-received 2011 holiday show, brought 175 free tickets through the GenOUT program. “Red & Greene,” the 2012 holiday show, found 225 guests. Members hope to continue adding tickets each year.

The program also features “hubs” in the Lisner lobby at each GMCW concert where queer youth can meet up before and after the shows. And it’s not just for high school students — the Chorus is in the process of getting a college internship program started as well.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Out & About

DC Center to host Alzheimer’s awareness event

‘Seniors & Cognition’ talk to explore warning signs, healthy brain practices

Published

on

The DC LGBTQ+ Community Center, the DC Department on Aging and Community Living, and the Alzheimer’s Association are joining forces to host “Seniors & Cognition with the Alzheimer’s Association” on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. 

Guest speakers will walk the audience through understanding Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, their warning signs, healthy brain practices, and more. The lecture series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions, with the others set to take place in August and September. 

To register, visit the DC Center’s website

Continue Reading

Sports

Brittney Griner and wife celebrate birth of their son

Cherelle Griner gave birth to healthy baby boy earlier this month

Published

on

Brittney Griner (Screen capture via Instagram)

It’s a boy for Brittney and Cherelle Griner. The Phoenix Mercury center revealed the news in interviews with CBS Sports and NBC News. 

“Every minute I feel like he’s popping into my head, said Griner. “Literally everything revolves around him. And I love it.”

The couple officially welcomed the baby boy on July 8. He weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

“That’s my man. He is amazing,” Griner told CBS Sports. “They said as soon as you see them, everything that you thought mattered just goes out the window. That’s literally what happened.” 

Griner, 33, corrected the CBS News correspondent who said, “You’re about to be a mom!” She told her Cherelle, 33, had already delivered the baby and that she preferred to be called,“Pops.” 

Griner told NBC News correspondent Liz Kreutz they chose to name their newborn son, “Bash.” 

The WNBA star said she is Bash’s biggest fan and is constantly taking photos of him. “My whole phone has turned into him now,” Griner told CBS Sports.

The baby comes as Griner gets set to play in Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game and then head to Paris with Team USA to compete for their 8th straight gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. 

“It kind of sucks because I have to leave, but at the same time, he will understand,” said Griner. 

Her time in Paris will mark the first time since the basketball star was released from a Russian gulag, where she was held on drug charges for nearly 10 months in 2022.

“BG is locked in and ready to go,” Griner told NBC News on Friday. “I’m happy, I’m in a great place. I’m representing my country, the country that fought for me to come back. I’m gonna represent it well.”

Griner also spoke with NBC News about her hopes the U.S. can win the freedom of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian maximum security prison on Friday. 

“We have to get him back,” she said. 

Continue Reading

Calendar

Calendar: July 19-25

LGBTQ events in the days to come

Published

on

Friday, July 19

“Center Aging Friday Tea Time” will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more details, email [email protected].

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Happy Hour” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This event is ideal for making new friends, professional networking, idea-sharing, and community building. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 20

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

“LGBTQ People of Color Support Group” will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Sunday, July 21

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 6:30 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to come enjoy an evening of Italian-style dining and conversation with other LGBTQ+ folk. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Funday Social and Games” at 3 p.m. at Moxy. This event is ideal for making meaningful new connections and informal community building, or just to unwind and enjoy the group happy hour. There will be Monopoly, chess, checkers, Jenga and many other games. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Monday, July 22

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected].

“Queer Book Club” will be at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The club meets on the fourth Monday of the month to discuss queer books by queer authors. This month’s read is yet to be announced. For more details, email [email protected].

Tuesday, July 23

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Coming Out Discussion Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a peer-facilitated discussion group and a safe space to share experiences about coming out and discuss topics as it relates to doing so. For more details, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“Genderqueer DC” will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary, whether you’re bigender, agender, genderfluid, or just know that you’re not 100% cis. For more details, email [email protected].

Wednesday, July 24

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit thedccenter.org/careers.

“Asexual and Aromantic Group” will meet at 7 p.m. on Zoom and in person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected].

Thursday, July 25

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular