In ‘Tyler’s Suite,’ voices unite against bullying – LA Times

TRE’VELL ANDERSON (Los Angeles Times) – February 28, 2015

When Jane Clementi’s son Tyler went off to Rutgers University in fall 2010 and began playing violin for a school orchestra composed primarily of upperclassmen and graduate students, she thought the skill he had been perfecting since age 3 — even teaching himself how to play while unicycling — had paid off.

Jane Clementi with Chris Verdugo

Above:  Jane Clementi with Chris Verdugo

But days later, 18-year-old Tyler jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. His roommate had set up a webcam, viewed him being intimate with another man and through Twitter invited others to watch.

“We are hoping to create a kinder, gentler society that embraces differences as opposed to humiliating people because of their differences,” Jane Clementi said about her activism since Tyler’s death. “I see a lot of great progress and changes. We still really have a lot of work to do.”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will further that work in a concert Saturday titled “Heartstrings” at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The performance will include the Southern California premiere of “Tyler’s Suite,” a suite of eight songs about Tyler’s life written by the likes of Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”), John Corigliano (the opera “The Ghosts of Versailles”), Jake Heggie (the opera “Dead Man Walking”) and singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway. Violin is woven through the songs.

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