Harmony, Sine Nomine, our guest soloists Sarah Barber, Joey Costanza, and Javan Carson, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Seelig will perform the Rocky Mountain region premiere of “Tyler’s Suite,” Friday May 5th at the Broomfield Auditorium and Saturday May 6th at Denver’s Central Presbyterian Church.
VIP tickets are offered for $60. Included, in this price, is premium seating, a catered post concert reception with Jane Clementi, Tim Seelig and the soloists. The VIP ticket is available for the Denver concert, only. VIP Tickets for Tyler’s Suite
Composed by multi-Tony award winner Stephen Schwartz, Jake Heggie, John Corigliano, Ann Hampton Callaway, and others, Tyler’s Suite is a 9 movement work that explores the voices of Tyler Clementi and his family.Tyler, an accomplished violinist and unicyclist, was coming out as a young gay man, beginning his freshman year at Rutgers University.
Tyler was a victim of cyber-bullying by his roommate, and died by suicide, after just a few weeks at Rutgers. In their grief, his parents established the Tyler Clementi Foundation to help end online and offline bullying, and several years ago the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus commissioned Tyler’s Suite, to serve as a source of healing, hope, and a call to action to end bullying.
So how did Harmony get involved? In October, 2015, we received an invitation to perform Tyler’s Suite in New York City, as part of DCINY. I jumped at the invitation, shared the information with the board and chorus at our retreat in November, and people were excited to be a part of this. Early on, we had about 40 people committed to travel to NYC, which will take place June 1-5, 2017.
I met with various potential partners beginning November 2015, and finally we are performing Tyler’s Suite with Sine Nomine, which is also part of GALA Choruses.
Why perform Tyler’s Suite? It is heartbreaking that this young man died by suicide, and it makes me realize, that we have come so far, and have even farther to go to create a safer world for all our children and adults.
I came out in 1975, writing a letter to my parents, telling them I was a homosexual and moving to Colorado from Kentucky. I felt like dying, I felt lost, hopeless; however, all I could do was drive…1200 miles to a place where I believed I could be who I was. Forty two years later, I still remember the fear, trembling, dread I felt, and not being able to imagine better days ahead. I had not been bullied, but I was certainly afraid to be me. And the response from some friends confirmed that. The director of the Baptist Student Union Choir, the president of the Bands at the University of Kentucky a homo—unthinkable!
Let’s turn the clock ahead to, well, let’s go to June 2015. The Supreme Court decides in favor of marriage equality. No longer are we second class citizens! For many of us, that window of opportunity has probably passed, but I want to make certain that anyone who is in a loving relationship and wants to be joined in marriage has that right, as a United States citizen. It’s a lot different to choose to not get married, than to not get married because your country will not allow it. People who have never felt that type of discrimination probably cannot understand.
My heart breaks for Tyler and for his family and friends. I am sure that there have been many second-guesses “If I’d only…” But we all know we can only move forward, and make today better for others and ourselves. One of the lines of the songs, in the voice of Tyler’s brother says: “Tyler, because of you, Tyler, what I won’t do is cower on some back gloomy shelf.”
I am honored and humbled to be working on this project. It consumes a good portion of my day, and for that I am grateful. My job is to help the Harmony singers perform to the best of our abilities, to honor Tyler, his legacy, his family, and help create a place where everyone is welcome, just as they are.