On June 6, 2019 The Stonewall Chorale presented the NY premiere of "Quiet No More." The words below came from our program notes. Board President Michael Conwill reflected on The Stonewall Riots, and how "Quiet No More" pays homage to triumphs and recognizes the struggles still ahead of us.
Welcome to the final concert of the 42nd season of the first LGBTQ chorus in our country, in this 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall uprising, in the city where this momentous series of events ushered in the modern gay rights movement. We present tonight the New York City premiere of Quiet No More, co-commissioned with 19 other GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) choral organizations. This musical celebration of the Stonewall uprising and its continued legacy provides a dramatic and heartfelt centerpiece for tonight’s concert, along with which we perform additional songs and anthems of inclusion and empowerment. How necessary our historic struggle was - and is.
It’s said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. The struggle to change societal norms in the face of accepted bigotries, and the dedicated persistence of resisting, organizing, and legislating plays out again in our own time. Like those who fought back in 1969 against legalized oppression, today we must fight back against those who would take away our hard-won rights and criminalize us again.
The history of the Stonewall riots being led by those that society scorned reaches all the way back to the seminal attempt in in the establishment of civil rights. Just as those drag queens and barflies fought back against the unjust laws enforced by the Mafia-enriched police, the signers of the first Magna Carta were rebels, the ones who already had church and state against them. They had the courage to not give a damn what King John or Pope Innocent thought, so unjust and corrupt, wallowing in their own hypocrisy. In our own country, which had thrown off imposed rule and become the exemplar of modern democracy, it took close to a hundred years and a civil war to live up to its promise of all men being equal, ending the legal status of some of us, being 3/5ths human, of not owning our own bodies. And how disruptive (and unladylike!) suffragettes appeared to those who would legally uphold male dominance. Some things never change, and in these latter days we face the same self-satisfied bigotry as they did in Runnymede and on Sheridan Square, against those who again and eternally say that a movement exists that will destroy the power structures and cultures they cling to in blind allegiance. And indeed we will, with decency, grace, and love. May we continue to abolish our given world of bigotries and inequities, despite the inevitable backlash from those entrenched in their own inequitable squalor.