Solidarity in music: Various Voices to webcast Uprising of Love live to Russia and the world?Choral arrangement of Melissa Etheridge’s anthem about resistance against homophobic repression will premiere at Various Voices LGBT choral festival in Dublin
(San Francisco – 3 June 2014)Various Voices is Europe’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) choral festival. The 2014 edition of the festival, organized from 13 to 16 June by Gloria, Dublin’s LGBT chorus, for Legato*, will offer a focus on outreach to Eastern Europe, and in particular to Russia, in solidarity with the victims of rising homophobic repression.
Artistic director Steve Nobles, formerly the music director of Gay Games VIII, Cologne 2010, explains the thinking of the festival organizers: “How can an event such as Various Voices be part of the struggle against the repression we are seeing in Russia and elsewhere? We wanted, at the very least, to share our amazing festival with them. Unlike LGBT cultural events such as the Side by Side Film Festival in St Petersburg, or the Russian Open Games in Moscow, the musicians taking part in Various Voices need not fear bombs and bomb threats, police repression, or the cancellation of venues.”
Festival chair Bernadette Manning added: “To share our festival, and to use it to inspire groups elsewhere to organize choirs, we decided to invest in live-streaming the entire event. Our particular target is Russia, and that message will be stronger thanks to some pieces our choirs will be honored to perform, including Steve Nobles’ arrangement of Melissa Etheridge’s anthem ‘Uprising of Love’.”
This arrangement was made possible thanks to the intervention of Marc Naimark on behalf of the Federation of Gay Games, who commented: “Uprising of Love is a movement born with the goal of promoting change in Russia, but it’s also a fantastic song. Melissa Etheridge has written a powerful piece of music, and I?m so happy that she has allowed Steve, who we’ve known ever since Gay Games VIII, to arrange it for the Various Voices festival chorus.”
Danny Greene of Propper Daley, the coordinating organization for the Uprising of Love coalition, helped secure the arrangement rights at the request of the FGG. He expressed his pleasure at the plans for livestreaming the concerts: “Although I won’t be in Dublin, I’m excited that thanks to the live streaming, I’ll be able to hear the arrangement performed on stage, and even more excited that LGBT people and allies in Russia will be able to view a performance that is currently unimaginable in their own country. We are very grateful to Melissa Etheridge for authorizing this arrangement, and to Various Voices for adding the song to their program.”
“Uprising of Love” will be performed during the festival’s “Eurovision Extravaganza” ?which begins at 21 hours GMT on Saturday 14 June. This will not be the only Russian-themed part of the festival. The festival anthem “Arise and Sing!? will include a chorus in Russian and will be performed at the closing concert at 17 hours on Monday 16 June. The full schedule and the links for the livestreaming from both venues of the festival can be found at variousvoices.ie.
The legacy of this festival will go beyond the performances in Dublin. ?Legato will be considering means of expanding its presence in Eastern Europe by means of an outreach and development plan. Steve Nobles expressed his hopes for the next edition of the festival in 2018: “It would be moving to perform this song again, but with men and women from Russia and other Eastern European countries joining us on stage. And perhaps thanks to solidarity between Europeans we can look forward soon to a Various Voices festival in Zagreb, Warsaw, or even Moscow.”
Legato (Lesbians and Gays Singing Together) is the umbrella group for LGBT choirs in Europe, and shares member choirs with Federation of Gay Games member organization GALA Choruses, the North American union of LGBT choirs. ?Website: legato-choirs.coms
Various Voices is an international gay choral festival that takes place every four years in a European city. This year Dublin will host the festival. Over 80 choirs will take part with on average 2,500 singers coming from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, to join Irish LGBT choirs and enjoy four days of concerts and various workshops in celebrating this festival. Choirs will also perform at a range of free public concerts. In association with Marriage Equality, the acclaimed New York City Gay Men?s Chorus and GLORIA DLGC will host the ?Big Gay Sing?, at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Sunday 15th June 2014.
Uprising of Love is a global movement to support of the safety and dignity of LGBTQI people around the world. ?Inspired by the original song, Uprising of Love, by Melissa Etheridge, this movement is supported by prominent individuals in entertainment, sports, business, and politics and a number of LGBTQI and human rights organizations. ?Initially launched prior to the Sochi Winter Olympics to shine a light on Russia?s anti-gay laws, Uprising of Love is now focused on all areas where LGBTQI safety and dignity is compromised by raising awareness and funds for activists who are making a difference on the ground. ? Website: uprisingoflove.org
The Federation of Gay Games is the governing body of the Gay Games, the world’s largest sport and culture event open to all. Gay Games 9 will take place 9-16 August 2014 in Cleveland+Akron, Ohio, and will feature a choral festival and the Leadership Seminarr of FGG member organization GALA Choruses. Websites: gaygames.org and gg9cle.com
For information about the Federation of Gay Games, visit?www.gaygames.org.
The 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation will be held in Cleveland + Akron, OH, USA 9-16 August 2014. Visitwww.gg9cle.com?for more information.