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Connecting Through Music

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The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus: In Concert

Dr. Stan Hill  
Dr. Stan Hill, artistic director of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus.

Sometimes a song is more than a song. Sometimes it is a bridge, a way of connecting hearts, a chance to open minds. The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus (TCGMC), who will perform on Thursday, May 3 at 8 pm in Weber Music Hall on the UMD campus, strives to build community through music. “We try to break down barriers and stereotypes,” said TCGMC Artistic Director Dr. Stan Hill.

Tickets are $7 and may be purchased online or by calling the Weber Music Hall Box Office at 218-726-8561. UMD students are admitted free with student identification. To request disability accommodations, contact Kate Andrews in the Office of the Chancellor, 218-726-7005. A reception will follow the concert in the Lower Weber lobby.

Hill has led the Chorus since 2000 and knows the impact that their music can have on their audiences. “We get letters. People write, ‘I don’t know what concert it was, but I’ll never forget how I felt.’ Music is its own language. It gets you on a visceral, emotional level,” he stated. Once music makes a connection “people can relate - audiences recognize themselves in the music.” Once that happens, “you can start to have a dialogue,” Hill said.

The event is sponsored by the Chancellor’s office, in conjunction with the GLBT Services office. “It’s an honor to host the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus at Weber Music Hall,” said Chancellor Lynn Black. “Through their music, they seek to create a more inclusive community. UMD is delighted to help support their mission, and I’m looking forward to an evening of wonderful music.”

“We’ve hosted the TCGMC twice, and their performances are absolutely stunning. The chorus is home to at least a couple of UMD alumni who are proud to be part of their larger purpose of educating and creating a better understanding of gay people. Expect the unexpected; this chorus never disappoints!” Angela C. Nichols, GLBT Services director since 2000.
Members of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus
Members of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus

Hill has devoted his life to choral music. He was artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus from 1989-2000. At the end of this season, he will be retiring. He looks forward to performing at Weber Music Hall. “The acoustics are absolutely flawless,” he said. During his tenure as director, the Chorus has produced a over a dozen CDs, many of which will be available for purchase following the concert.

One of the highlights of Hill's career has been to commission new pieces. “It is really rewarding to know that these works are being performed throughout the world.” They are a way for gay men’s stories to be expressed and shared. “If we don’t tell our story, who will,” he stated. The Chorus will present one such piece at the May 3 concert. It is called "You Are . . ." and was commissioned by a couple in Iowa, based on a poem that one of them wrote for the other on his 50th birthday.

The Chorus could stick close to home. They have a loyal fan base, and their concerts are routinely sold out. “It’s easy to perform in the Cities,” Hill said, “but sometimes we have to get out of the bubble.” And so they travel: to entertain, to educate, and to dispel stereotypes. “We have lots of doctors, lawyers, and engineers in the Chorus. We only have one hairdresser in the group,” he laughed. They sing with the hope that through song, they are connecting hearts and opening minds.

Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus  
The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus in concert

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, April 2012

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