New York City Gay Men's Chorus does its first Schools Project

We had a fantastic morning yesterday at the Voice Charter School in Long Island City in Queens, working with around 100 6th-8th Grade students.

Under the leadership of my hugely talented colleague and partner-in-crime, Johnny Atorino, NYCGMC members initially joined the students in their morning Advisory sessions, and chatted in small groups. We then performed to them collectively for 40 minutes or so. Our carefully chosen program was interspersed with personal stories told by NYCGMC members about their experiences in school as LGBTQ youngsters. We finished with a song that we all sang together, Sia's amazing 'Bird Set Free'.

Our boys sang their hearts out, the children were highly involved and respectful, and one of their teachers described the students as the most engaged they had seen them at any assembly this year. All laughed, and some of the children were also visibly moved, even tearful, as a result of the stories they heard. Some of our members were also deeply moved by the attentiveness and acceptance of the students as they made themselves vulnerable. We came away feeling that we really had made an impact, and that the interaction had been a win-win and a genuine connection moment for both groups. That's what we do.

What we offer as an organization is a very deep understanding of the impact of singing on people's lives. This is clearly a fertile way forward for music education, as well as education about LGBTQ people. More to follow as we put together a more extensive program for 2017-18, and get donors and funders involved. Watch this space!

Charles BealeComment