San Diego Women's Chorus Debuts 'Quiet No More'
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / May 16, 2019
This weekend the San Diego Women’s Chorus, SDWC, presents "Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall." This San Diego premiere of the newly commissioned work will be presented at Lincoln High School Center for Performing Arts.
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Speaker 1: 00:00 This weekend. The San Diego Women's chorus presents quiet no more. A coral celebration of stonewall KPBS arts reporter Beth huck Amando speaks with artistic director Kathleen Hansen about this newly commissioned work.
Speaker 2: 00:13 Kathleen, tell me what the San Diego Women's chorus is all about. The a women's chorus is a lesbian feminist identified chorus. It's been around for over 30 years and our mission in part is to inspire social action. And so who are the members of this right now? We've got about a hundred members. We'll have about 85 on stage singing, and that's grown from a small group of about a dozen women seeing around a piano in our founders living room to a large chorus that we are today. And what are you going to be performing this weekend? This weekend we're going to be performing quiet no more, which is a coral celebration of the stonewall uprising from New York, which happened in 1969 so we're celebrating its 50th anniversary now. For people who may not remember what stonewall was all about. Give us a brief reminder of what happens, what was a kind of underground club or the Lgbtq plus population used to be able to go to dance.
Speaker 2: 01:12 At that time it was illegal to show any sort of same sex affection or to cross dress or to congregate and so there was this underground club. It was actually run by the mafia, but the police would raid it once in awhile and arrest people and kind of rough people up and disburse them. One night in 1969 the crowd decided to fight back. I said, we're not going anywhere, and there was a riot that sometimes we call it an uprising now because it kind of led to what's currently the gay rights and the Lgbtq rights movement. It led to the first pride parade a year later. And what do you feel it's important to remember that and to remember that through song. He was such a pivotal, pivotal moment for the community and 50 years ago really wasn't that long ago. We have a lot of people who were there who have friends who are there, but I feel like it's so easy to forget how far we've come and it's so easy, especially those of us who live in a safe bubble, it's easy for us to forget how much discrimination still exists.
Speaker 2: 02:18 There are still laws in different states that allow people to be discriminated against and fired for being part of the Lgbtq Q community. And is it also easy for people to sometimes take for granted how far we've come and how things can go backwards? Absolutely. It's a matter of fact in this move, in this choral piece that we're going to saying it's an eight movement work and it goes in a loop in a linear fashion. So it starts leading up to going into this club and then it covers the police raid and then it talks about what happens afterwards and how we really aren't done yet. In the very final movement says start at home, change what you can never again be silent. And it's so important that everyone who is interested in equal rights stands up and speaks about this. And it's passionate about this and realizes how close we are to taking steps back.
Speaker 2: 03:13 In some places, many steps are being taken back and it's, it's frightening and it's real and it's affecting people's lives. And putting this to music, I think is a great way to reach people. It touches people's souls, put anything to music and it makes it a little bit more exhilarating or more meaningful. Let's hear a little bit from part of the show. So what are we going to hear? This first piece is called courage to be who we are. And it was written in memory of a transgender woman who unfortunately was violently killed. This reminds us that standing up and being who we are and being visible is important.
Speaker 3: 03:49 Whoo. Woo.
Speaker 4: 03:58 Woo.
Speaker 3: 04:04 Oh to bet. Good. Show me. Woo. [inaudible] we are standing in the mammary. Oh. [inaudible] [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 04:29 oh, sorry.
Speaker 3: 04:31 Bob and me. [inaudible] oh, [inaudible] to be [inaudible] we, we have Dainian I'm mammary, Huh? No, it was too high ball and oh, zoo have fallen.
Speaker 4: 05:00 Oh.
Speaker 3: 05:01 Oh Man. We are singing in the memory. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 05:20 and discuss the role that music can play in that sense of activism and revolution or rebellion or whatever you want to call it. If you look back at all of the important social movements, they were surrounded by music, you look at civil rights and you think of we shall overcome. Um, one of the pieces that we'll be singing is Beatles revolution. I think that it allows people to express things that they don't otherwise have a way to express. Sometimes we get angry and yell and yelling doesn't always serve the right purpose, but if we can inspire people, if we can open people's hearts, if we can touch their souls through music, I think it's a way to humanize each other and really be able to understand a bit more of where other people are coming from.
Speaker 3: 06:05 [inaudible]
Speaker 5: 06:08 Ah,
Speaker 3: 06:10 good to [inaudible].
Speaker 2: 06:16 What can people expect in terms of the music? Is anything original music composed for this? Is it a songs that have been selected from other sources? Yes, so the first half of our show is preexisting music. Some of them are fairly new pieces. There's a song book called the Justice Choir Songbook, and that was put together really with the idea of bringing people together in song to specifically discuss social movements. We've got a great piece in the first half by a woman named Kay weaver who lives in southern California. The second half of our concert will be the debut in San Diego of quiet no more, which is an eight movement work, and that was commissioned by the New York City gay men's chorus, the gay men's chorus of Los Angeles, and then we are a co commissioning chorus. There are 17 courses who have all been collaborating to put this work together.
Speaker 2: 07:06 What do you hope people will take away from this show? I hope that people will be appreciative of the history of Stonewall, appreciative of those who have stood up in the past. Some have put their lives on the line. Some people have put their lives on the line to bring about revolution, to bring about acceptance. I also hope that people will feel that they should stand up for each other. I hope that people will feel the need to take action that people will reach across, meet new people, understand other people, vote all of those things.
Speaker 1: 07:45 Yeah. And the wind, that was San Diego Women's course, artistic director, Kathleen Hanton speaking with Beth Ahca, Mondo quiet, no more will be performed this Saturday and Sunday at Lincoln High School Center for Performing Arts.