Two gay men’s choruses will come together in Columbia, Missouri, to present a free concert celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights icon Harvey Milk. Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus will perform at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S 9th St, Columbia, Mo. The concert is presented by the University of Missouri LGBTQ Resource Center and is open to the public.
Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned.
Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
The two choruses will present musical selections inspired by Milk’s life, as well as selections from the oratorio, “I Am Harvey Milk.” Written by Tony® and Grammy Award® nominated composer Andrew Lippa (Broadway’s “The Wild Party,” “The Addams Family” and “Big Fish”) and co-commissioned by Heartland Men’s Chorus, “I Am Harvey Milk” tells the moving story of Milk’s life from his childhood to his assassination.
“It’s not a straight-forward biography,” says HMC’s executive director Rick Fisher. “The songs touch on universal themes including bullying, activism, and the building of community.”
The concert will be conducted by Dr. Tim Seelig, who conducted the 2013 world premiere production of “I Am Harvey Milk” in San Francisco. Milk’s story is entwined with the history of San Francisco as well as the history of the LGBT choral movement: the candlelight vigil on the night of his assignation in 1978 marked the first public performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
“This is not a story specific to San Francisco,” says Seelig. “This is about a man who stepped forward and did something remarkable –even though he was not particularly remarkable by most accounts. It is about a man who became a hero and a martyr for what he believed. Composer Andrew Lippa’s goal was that every single person who hears this will somehow resonate with the person who was Harvey Milk and look for the part of Harvey within them.”
The University of Missouri LGBTQ Resource Center presents “I Am Harvey Milk” at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S 9th St, Columbia, Mo. Admission is free.
Heartland Men’s Chorus and Gateway Men’s Chorus will present an expanded, two act version of the concert at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and 4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 30 at the Folly Theater, 300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets are $15-$40 and can be purchased online at http://hmckc.org or by calling 816-931-3338.
The choruses will present an encore performance at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at WashingtonUniversity’s 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave, St Louis, Mo. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at http://www.gmcstl.org.
For more information:
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men’s Chorus
Kansas City Direct Response Marketing