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GREAT MUSIC FROM GREAT MOVIES

June 13, 2024 | 7:30 p.m. Holy Apostles
Cynthia Powell, Artistic Director
Brian Holman, Piano • Chiho Saegusa, bass • Paige Durr, drums

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This performance is made possible, in part, due to the generous support of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council through its Creative Engagement Grant program. LMCC provides support for artist projects in Manhattan with funding from New York State and City agencies, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and the Howard Gilman Foundation.

A Message from Stonewall's Artistic Director

I’d like to share with you what Stonewall’s Pride concert this year means to us. NYC Pride’s theme for 2024 is Reflect. Empower. Unite. Our concert aligns with that, and we take it a step further with another theme: Celebration of who we are, with songs that are unapologetically sheer fun. 

 

As a community, we deserve to take a moment to be grateful for the victories won by previous generations of gay activists, victories that provided us the freedoms we have today. So in the spirit of merrymaking, something we all know how to do, we’re presenting a program filled with joyful music about human experiences like falling in love, being part of a community, and just being able to go out and have a great time with one another. 

 

Our songs give us the opportunity to pause and think about who we are, the challenges ahead, and our next steps as a community. In short, for us, Pride 2024 is a time to celebrate what we are made of, and to reflect on what we were made for. 

 

The Stonewall Chorale was made by its original members for the love of choral music and the joy of singing together as a like-minded body of people who were gay at a time when it wasn’t only “un-chic,” it was illegal and a reason for rejection by our communities, workplaces, families and friends. In fact, sadly, there was a time when Stonewall’s programs didn’t list our singers’ names for fear of retaliation. 

 

So, there certainly has been progress and success. While this concert doesn’t have a big old gay message per se, Stonewall’s 47-year-old history as a multi-generational performing arts organization is a symbol of what can happen when we come together for a unified goal. In our case, that goal is to elevate and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ selves through the power of great, and sometimes just fun, music that feeds our souls and raises our spirits.

 

As a community, let’s recognize what we are made of, and think about what we were made for. We’re all human, and we’re all we’ve got.

 

Be proud of who you are, friends

 

Cynthia Powell, Artistic Director

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CP Message

Artist Bios

CYNTHIA POWELLConductor and Artistic Director, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, has served on the guest faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, led the St. George's Choral Society in NYC, and was a guest conductor at the International Choral Festival in Havana, Cuba. Cynthia was the organist/choirmaster of Christ Church, Ridgewood, NJ, from 1992-2008 and West End Collegiate Church, NYC from 2008-2021. She is currently the accompanist and choir director of Temple Sinai in Tenafly, and she also serves as organist/choir director for the Welsh Congregation of NYC. This season is her 21st season as the Artistic Director of the Stonewall Chorale and Melodia Women’s Choir and she has produced recitals, oratorios and concerts to benefit Doctors Without Borders, the Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan, and Water is Life, Kenya.

 

Cynthia has performed at Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim, BAM, the Whitney Museum and Zankel Hall with composer Meredith Monk, and has toured the U.S. and Europe in various works by Monk. She recently led the Stonewall Chorale in “Considering Matthew Shepard” by Craig Hella Johnson, a contemporary oratorio on the life of a young gay man from Wyoming who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in 1998. She is a frequent substitute organist and choral director at the Riverside Church in NYC, at Church of the Ascension, NYC and recently played a recital at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in NYC. She shares her life with Allison Sniffin, and they both reside in Englewood, NJ

Paige DurrDrums is currently a freelance drummer in New York. Her most recent credits include; Six the Musical (Broadway), A Sign of the Times (Off Broadway) and Six the Musical (First National Tour). This is her third concert performing with the Stonewall Chorale and she is very excited to be here to celebrate pride with her fiancé in the choir!

Brian Holman, Pianist,  is Music Director of New Rochelle Opera and Associate Conductor of Modus Operandi Orchestra (MOO). Recent conducting engagements with Opera Orlando, Inland Northwest Opera, Cleveland Opera Theater, Pacific Opera Project, Marble City Opera, and Red River Lyric Opera. Brian has served as assistant conductor with New York City Opera, Opera Africa, Opera in Williamsburg, Treasure Coast Opera, Montclair State University Opera, and has conducted performances with the Orlando Philharmonic, Lebanese Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, and Tucson Pops Orchestra. Brian has appeared at Harare International Festival of the Arts, Mediterranean Opera Festival, and Film Fest Tucson. This season Brian conducts Pagliacci with New Rochelle Opera, debuts with Lighthouse Opera in Carmen, Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil Municipal de Guatemala and tenor Julio Mascaro, and with tenor Amine Hachem at Place des Arts, Montreal. Brian returns to Oracle Piano Society to conduct his original score for the 100th anniversary of the silent film, The Mine with the Iron Door, commissioned by Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation. Born in Arizona of English and Mexican ancestry, Brian studied piano with Robert Hamilton at Arizona State University and Nina Svetlanova at Manhattan School of Music. Brian has performed with many acclaimed singers: Nelly Miricioiu, Laquita Mitchell, Aprile Millo, Stella Zambalis, Lauren Flanigan, Sara Murphy, Laverne Cox, Noah Stewart, Francisco Casanova, James Valenti, Lester Lynch, Kenneth Overton, Niní Cáffaro, Daniel Borowski. Brian has played for masterclasses of Mariella Devia, Martina Arroyo, Verónica Villarroel, Giuseppe Filianoti, Marcello Giordani, Salvatore Fisichella, Nicola Martinucci, Neil Shicoff and Ira Siff. Brian’s work has also been featured on international radio, television and digital media: WQXR, Classic FM, Sirius XM, Virgin, Esimora Cultural RAC Colombia, Alhurra, LBCI, Tele-Occidente Sicilia, Vogue.

Chiho Saegusa, Double Bassist, is an active freelance musician in the New York area. A native of Tokyo Japan, she has performed throughout the United States and Japan as a soloist, chamber, orchestra and Broadway musician. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Recently she was seen in the NPR Tiny Desk concert of Sweeney Todd. 

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Special Thanks

Michael Conwill for backdrop and lighting

Susan Galardi for PR, publicity, and editorial support

jmac for instrumental arrangements'

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Thank you to our Generous Donors*

Kirsten Abrams, Susan Amster, Marianne Ardito, David Beek, Nancy Berg, Jeffrey Berg, Nancy Berger, Donald Bickford, Michael Bosnick, Emily Boytinck, Caren Brooks, Ann Cantwell-Sweeney, Yelena Chervinsky, Theresa Colliton, Joanna Curtis, Stephen Deutsche, Nola Deutsche, Diane Ducklerm Allan Gibofsky, Martha Golar, Google, John Grant, Thomas Harlin, Molly Haskell, Chaya Himelfarb, Elliot Hurwitz, Michael Kates, John Kennedy, Trent Lethco, m Mally, Barbara Merjan, Frank Miller, Deborah Mincer, Mightycause Foundation, Manuel Ovando, Moody's Corporation, Debra Reiner, Howard Rich, Verdery Roosevelt, Stephen Rutsky, Serra Schlanger, Bonnie Shevins, Howard Slonim, Scott Smith,
Allison Sniffin, Beate Stych, Elliot Sussman, David Tarlo, Valerie Wald, Joyce Weinstein, Brooke Wiese, Ruth Zaleon, Marilyn Zaleon, Janet Zaleon.

*Note: This list reflects those who made a donation to the Chorale between July 1, 2023 and June 4, 2024.

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