Arts and Culture

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus to perform in Istanbul

Friday, April 10, 2015
The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at the Zorlu Center on June 27, a day before the 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade. Executive director of the Chorus, Craig Coogan, told how the chorus was founded and the impact it created.
The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus was founded in 1982, when LGBTI activism in Turkey did not even form. Can you tell us how the chorus was formed at that time and the story behind it?
In 1982, when the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus formed, it was a very difficult time, but also an exciting time. Gay choruses were forming around the United States as a way to build community and find a safe and welcoming place to be who you were. In the early years the AIDS crisis had a significant impact on the community and the Chorus. There was widespread discrimination in society and some members did not want to have their names printed in our programs. As things have gotten better for gay people in the United States, our chorus has grown. Today, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is one of the largest in the United States. It has won numerous artistic awards, and it’s known primarily for outstanding musicianship, creative programming, and groundbreaking community outreach.
The Chorus emphasizes that it wants to inspire. What is empowering about a chorus consisting of gay men only?
Music is a transformative part of building bridges and community. It has the power to transcend boundaries and create connection among people from different backgrounds, languages and beliefs, and has long been a central part of social justice movements. Shared cultural experience goes deeper than words and intellectual exchange; music is a visceral, emotional, opening, dynamic, shared collective experience. Cultural relations are one of the most effective means of transforming prejudice, mistrust and fear into curiosity, acceptance and understanding. When people hear their experience, their lives are represented and it empowers and inspires.
This will be your first concert in Turkey, just a day before the 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade. How is the general feeling of the chorus about it?
We are very excited about our upcoming performance in Istanbul! We are looking forward to learning more about Turkish culture and cuisine, and trying some köfte and börek. And we cannot wait to experience Istanbul Pride!
Will we be able to listen to any Turkish songs from the chorus? At least Tarkan’s Simarik?
We are looking forward to presenting a diverse repertoire of music – from Broadway songs to pop music by artists such as Madonna. You’ll have to come to the concert to discover all of the surprises!
Tickets for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus concert at the Zorlu Center on June 27 are available on biletix.
The interview with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus can be read in full on Kaos GL Magazine’s May-June 2015 issue titled “Publishing”
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