“Identify” Program Notes

The Program


Brothers, Sing On! (Edvard Grieg)

Tyler’s Suite
1. Meditation (John Corigliano)
2. I Have Songs You Haven’t Heard (Nolan Gasser) TYLER: DONALD CROWL
3. A Wish (Lance Horne)
4. The Unicycle Song (Craig Carnelia) TYLER: DANIEL ALFORD
5. Just A Boy (John Bucchino) TYLER’S FATHER: MICHAEL L. DE VOE
6. Brother, Because of You (Stephen Schwartz) TYLER’S BROTHERS: BOB KOHLER & BRANDON SHELTON
7. The Tyler Show (Stephen Flaherty)
8. I Love You More (Ann Hampton Callaway/arr. Tim Sarsany) TYLER’S MOTHER: NANCY NAIL
9. The Narrow Bridge (Jake Heggie) SOLO: MICHAEL SCHNETZER



Kin (Timothy C. Takach)


Our America (Ben Allaway)

The Music of Living (Dan Forrest)

You Have More Friends Than You Know (Warren & Marx) FEATURING: HMC CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

Cornerstone (Shawn Kirchner) SOLOS: ADAM BROWN & TODD GREGORY-GIBBS

I Love You/What a Wonderful World (arr. Craig Hella Johnson) SOLO: STEVE THERRIEN

Give ‘Em Hope (Joseph Martin) SOLO: DAVID WOOD

From the Artistic Director – on the creation of “Identify” and the life of Tyler Clementi:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, cisgender, questioning, white, black, Hispanic, evangelical, Muslim, liberal, conservative … the terms that we use to identify ourselves and others is ever-growing. If you are anything like me, you may have to turn to Google to define each letter in: LGBTQIA. Despite the challenges with remembering terminology, the significance and weight of these words are undeniable. They are used to unite a community and divide a country.

Our ability to embrace our true identity has lasting impacts. Tyler Clementi understood the importance of embracing one’s unique individual qualities. A music lover, Tyler began playing the violin in the third grade. He also loved riding his bike and eventually learned how to ride a unicycle. In a full demonstration of two of his unique talents, Tyler taught himself to ride the unicycle while playing the violin.

The summer after his high school graduation, Tyler began the process of coming out to his family and friends. In August 2010, Tyler began attending Rutgers University. He was excited to play the violin in the university’s top orchestra and to begin his college experience living as an openly gay man.
Just a few short weeks after starting school, Tyler was the victim of a horrible act of cyber-bullying. One night when Tyler had a date, he asked his dorm roommate for some privacy. His roommate agreed, but before leaving the dorm he secretly turned on his webcam and pointed it toward Tyler’s bed. The camera captured Tyler and his date in an intimate act, which the roommate wrote about on social media. Through his roommate’s Twitter feed, Tyler discovered that he had become the object of ridicule and harassment across campus. Days later, Tyler ended his life by jumping off New York City’s George Washington Bridge. He was 18 years old.

Tyler’s tragic story is a rallying cry. All of us, regardless of how we identify, deserve the opportunity to live authentic lives free from bullying, ridicule and fear. We must reject rhetoric that uses our differences to divide us. We must love.
“Though the bridge may seem narrow, if we walk it together, it is plenty wide.”
Dustin Cates

About “Tyler’s Suite”

Tyler’s Suite, conceived by famed Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) is a nine movement choral masterpiece dedicated to the memory of Tyler Clementi, a talented young musician who committed suicide after being cyber-bullied by his college roommate.

After hearing about the tragedy, Schwartz gathered a team of renowned composers to raise awareness about bullying. Tyler’s Suite is based upon hundreds of hours of interviews with the Clementi family, and explores the lives and experiences of Tyler and his family, shining a light of hope on such a devastating tragedy.

“The story of Tyler Clementi, who clearly had so much to offer the world, reminds us that every life lost because of bullying and bigotry is a specific individual tragedy,” said Schwartz. This is why I, and this group of gifted collaborators who have joined me, feel privileged to bring our time, energy and talents to the creation of Tyler’s Suite.” Each of the nine songs takes on the perspective of a different family member in Tyler’s life.

Composed in 2014, Tyler’s Suite makes its Great Plains premiere here on the stage of the Folly Theater. It is the music of nine of today’s top composers including Mark Adamo, Ann Hampton Callaway, Craig Carnelia, John Corigliano, Stephen Flaherty, Nolan Gasser, Jake Heggie, Lance Horne, and Stephen Schwartz. “This collection of songs shines a light of hope for a safer, kinder world in line with the mission of the Tyler Clementi Foundation,” according to the foundation website.

Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, will be on hand to further the work of the foundation that was founded to prevent bullying through inclusion, assertion of dignity and acceptance. “Curious and adventurous, creative, smart, articulate, cheerful, a wonderful easy going personality, Tyler always had a smile on his face … it’s how he hid himself from the world … behind a smile,” says Mrs. Clementi. “Tyler was a peacekeeper, private, didn’t seek attention … he was comfortable blending in, but he loved to perform, his true passion was music. He was a gifted violinist.”

This powerful collection of songs with lyrics by Pamela Stewart, moves audiences and singers alike and ultimately shines a light of hope for a safer, kinder world in line with the mission of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which works to end all forms of online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.
Lisa Hickok