Shawn Hunter, a poised and confident young man who was bullied in high school for being gay, turned out to be the focal point at IndyChoruses’ “Take Heart: It’s Getting Better” fundraiser, held Sunday at the Indiana Landmarks Center.
The 19-year-old Hunter is now a freshman at Ivy Tech Community College and wants to be a social worker. He told the audience how the Indiana Youth Group, a nonprofit organization that serves LGBT youth, helped him find the love and support necessary to become empowered and proud of who he is. Following his moving comments, Hunter was given a standing ovation.
As it turned out, Hunter’s inspiring message was an ideal follow-up to last year’s IndyChoruses event, at which the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus premiered its “It Gets Better” YouTube video, which to date has received over 3,500 hits.
Hunter’s speech, delivered in the Center’s Grand Hall, was midway through the program, which commenced with a social hour and a silent auction in the Center’s Cook Theater. Funds raised from the event, which drew a small crowd, will support IndyChoruses, the umbrella organization for the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus and the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus.
IndyChoruses is a nonprofit musical organization, founded in 1990 to promote diversity, equality and justice, as well as to strengthen the spirit of pride within the LGBT community through music. The IWC and IMC, according to the IndyChoruses mission statement, “strive to achieve the highest caliber of musical excellence in order to provide enjoyment, inspiration and enrichment for the people of Indiana.”
Master of Ceremonies Doug Dilling, a former IMC member and the program’s featured soloist, began the program by introducing the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus, consisting of 22 singers present for the performance. Led by Artistic Director Scott Buchanan, they displayed an impressive blend as they sang “Dance on my Heart,” by Allen Koepke; “Rain Come Down,” by Shawn L. Kirchner; and Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” (arranged by Kirby Shaw), from the 1988 film “Working Girl.”
Following the IWC performance, Dilling dazzled the audience with a soul-stirring rendition of “Bring Him Home,” from “Les Miserables.”
The IMC was represented by 67 of its members and led by Artistic Director Greg Sanders. Showing passion, power and expressiveness, the IMC selections included “Gloria,” from “Missa Brevis" by Jonathan Dove, accompanied by guest organist Simon Thomas Jacobs. The IMC, accompanied by D.J. Smith, also performed “i carry your heart,” by David Dickau, with text by e.e. cummings, and “America, the Beautiful,” arranged by Marvin Gaspard.
The program concluded with closing remarks from Geoffrey S. Lapin, cellist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, who relayed regrets from the event’s honorary chair, Marianne Williams Tobias, who, due to illness, was not able to attend.
For information about IndyChoruses and upcoming Indianapolis Women’s Chorus and Indianapolis Men’s Chorus concerts, visit www.indychoruses.org.
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