Celebrate Pride — Celebrate Diversity

The curtain opened to reveal the performers — all clad in tie-dyed shirts, a tribute to the summer of 1969 — the summer of love. I immediately noticed the inclusion of individuals with disabilities among the chorus members, themselves a diverse group. Diversity has no limits. They burst into song, one of my favorites — a classical tribute to diversity — Everyday People, words and music by Sylvester Stewart — Sly and the Family Stone.

The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus was performing its annual Pride Concert, and the theme this year, 2019, was a celebration of Stonewall and the summer of ‘69. Interspersed with the songs was a narrator telling the history of Greenwich Village as a haven for the LGBTQ community and the events leading up to the Stonewall Riots which began with a raid on the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969 and sparked an avalanche of anger. For the LGBTQ community, it was their Rosa Parks moment – the start Gay Power and Gay Pride.

Stonewall’s legacy is resistance against repression. Read more about Stonewall on the History Channel’s website, History.com at https://www.history.com/news/stonewall-riots-timeline

The songs in the program captured the music of that summer, but also the spirit of the dawn of the Gay Liberation movement. How many of these songs do you remember: Cherish, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, The Impossible Dream, Time of the Season, and Aquarius — just to name a few.  They ended with a poignant rendition of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother before getting the audience on their feet for a rousing encore of Everyday People.

June is a month of celebrations. Celebrate Summer, Celebrate the Arts, Celebrate Equality, Celebrate Human Rights & Dignity. Let The Sunshine In.

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