LGBTQ and Faith Communities Come Together for I RISE from Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

LGBTQ and Faith Communities Come Together for I RISE from Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

As part of its spectacular 38th Season, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA), one of the nation's largest and most esteemed LGBTQ arts organizations in the country since 1979, will join together in song with more than 25 communities of faith, during a powerful, first-of-its-kind choral concert, taking place on July 8 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.

With two back-to-back performances, "I Rise," presented by Wells Fargo, will explore the often complicated relationship between the LGBTQ community and myriad communities of faith, with the hope that a new united path can emerge. The transformational concert will celebrate a new future of inclusion, especially at a time when it's more crucial than ever.

Throughout this poignant and uplifting experience, GMCLA will partner in song and story with its more than two-dozen collaborators, forming what can only be described as a "mega chorus" of nearly 500 members, including Mormons, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Catholics, as well as the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (the first of its kind trans chorus) and Vox Femina - an all women's chorus.

In fact, some of the specific faith-based organizations taking part in this concert include: Congregation Kol Ami; Muslims for Progressive Values; Selah Gospel Choir; Immanuel Presbyterian Church; First Congregational Church of LA; Dignity San Fernando Valley; and Soka Gakkai International Buddhists, as well as many more.

Throughout the two-hour event, "I Rise" will include a Muslim Call to Prayer, a performance of Leonard Cohen's haunting and illustrious torch song, "Hallelujah"; various psalms, hymns and gospel selections; and performances by special guest artists, including American singer-songwriter and lesbian activist Holly Near and American transgender singer Breanna Sinclaire.

There will be personal stories shared with the audience highlighting the often conflicted relationship between the LGBTQ community and various communities of faith, and a rainbow of stoles displayed. All members of the concert will be wearing the wardrobe commensurate to their community of faith. At a time when our country seems more divided than ever, this concert couldn't be more timely or relevant.

"This concert, like so many others presented by GMCLA, once again unites the organization's distinguished artistic excellence with its groundbreaking, leading efforts at transforming lives and creating greater understanding among our communities," says Jonathan Weedman, Executive Director of theGay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.

"Our hope is that I Rise will spark a conversation that connects our communities, rather than building walls that divide us," says Dr. Joe Nadeau, Artistic Director and Conductor for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. "We believe that regardless of one's religious affiliation, belief, or non-belief we are all created equally and deserve love, compassion, and care. No individual or group has a monopoly on grace or divine acceptance. We approach this topic the way that GMCLA has always done - through music."

"I Rise" has two performances on Saturday, July 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave.)

Tickets to attend "I Rise" range in price from $20-90. To purchase tickets, visit www.gmcla.org, or call 323-850-2000. For more information on the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and its Season 38 programming schedule, call (424) 239-6514.

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