Philomusica Chorale, a Chestnut Hill-based community chorus, will perform in a May 6 concert that highlights issues of social justice.
Philomusica Chorale, a Chestnut Hill-based community chorus, will perform in a May 6 concert that highlights issues of social justice, at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.
During what organizers are calling a “T-shirt concert,” the chorale will sing music that addresses concerns such as diversity, equity, immigration, women’s issues, inclusion and the LGBTQ+ community. Instead of wearing traditional choir attire, chorale members will wear T-shirts with the issues printed on them. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
“The idea for a T-shirt concert came from two places,” Gayle Wieand, artistic director of the chorus, explained in a press release. “First, the yard signs in our community that announce ‘This house believes: science is real, Black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, etc.’” The concert aims to explore what music has to say about these issues and the world’s capacity to change, Wieand said.
“Second, we wanted to change up the image of a traditional chorale by switching out tuxedos and long dresses for everyday clothing – including T-shirts – to enhance the sense of everyone’s belonging,” Wieand said,
The concert will include the Philadelphia premiere of “As We Are Changed,” a 2019 oratorio for soprano, tenor, chorus and chamber orchestra by Carson Cooman, with a libretto by Euan Tait. The one-hour piece explores the constant transformations under way in our world and in ourselves. Because of the pandemic, this is only the second time the oratorio has been sung for a live audience, anywhere in the world.
The program will also include “Stand Up” from “Harriet," the musical based on the life of Harriet Tubman; “America Will Be!” a composition by Joel Thompson that speaks to the friction between professed ideals and painful reality; “Finally On My Way To Yes,” by Elizabeth Alexander, a song imbued with messages of acceptance and freedom from the constraints of others’ expectations; and “I Had No Time To Hate,” by Tarik O’Regan, based on the poem by Emily Dickinson.
“The purpose of this concert is to make people think; put them in touch with vulnerable feelings,” Wieand said. “We hope to get people talking.”
Tickets may be purchased at a discount online at philomusicachorale.org or at the door. The Presbyterian Church is at 8855 Germantown Ave.