I Rise was more than a concert. As shaped by artistic director and conductor Dr. Joseph P. Nadeau (below) it was a theatrical experience so provocative, so plaintive, so poignant, so palpable, so powerful and so profound that it devastated me. And when that happens in the arts, I’m inspired. Sadly, there were only two performances on one day, but for the lucky ones in attendance, this Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’s Season 38 Summer Concert will live on forever—it was one of their best programs in decades. (The event was also streamed live on Periscope (just click the play button); almost 150,000 viewers around the world so far).
Regardless of the strides the gay community has made in today’s world, religion is still the greatest force of division between supporters and detractors of gay rights. It’s a complicated, far-reaching subject matter for a choral concert, but the resounding message viewers came away with on July 8 at Disney Hall was this: Anyone can rise above the hate and intolerance fostered by the deep-rooted beliefs instigated by organized religion. (Executive Director Jonathan Weedman [photo below] wittily noted that the Gay Men’s Chorus is doing a program centered on religion, and it’s the hottest day in L.A. history.)