Voices across Generations for LGBTQ+ Youth

to our guest artists, our community partners, and the wonderful audience who stood with us at the live concert, Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 3pm at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, Boston.

Click for Letters Concert highlights, photos, previews and reviews.

Photo: Composers_for_We_Will_Not_Be_Erased_4.pn

based on open letters by LGBTQ+ youth advocates Mimi Lemay and Sam Brinton
RONALD PERERA, When Music Sounds
OLA GJEILO, Dark Night of the Soul,

GJEILO, Luminous Night of the Soul

The 14th Annual Daniel Pinkham Award was presented to Sam Brinton for their work to end the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Guest Artists:
Photo: Guest Artists: Sonja Dutoit-Tengblad, Jonas Budris; Narrators Mimi Lemay, Sam Brinton
Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano
Jonas Budris, tenor
 Mimi Lemay, narrator
Sam Brinton, narrator
Arneis Quartet
The Arneis Quartet:
Heather Braun, violin
Rose Drucker, violin
Daniel Doña, viola
Agnes Kim, cello
Yulia Yun
Yulia Yun, pianist

Voices reach out across generations in a newly commissioned work by award-winning composer, Andrea Clearfield, based on true stories and moving open letters by leading LGBTQ+ youth advocates Mimi Lemay and Sam Brinton.

With record numbers of state bills filed to erode the rights of transgender youth and their family and to silence discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in schools, we invite you to join us as we raise our voices in this powerful and timely work, commissioned by Coro Allegro singers and Robin Godfrey of GALA Choruses.

Clearfield work is paired with New England composer Ronald Perera’s beautifully crafted setting of poems on music by Walter de la Mare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Emily Dickinson, as well as contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s soaring setting of 16th-century mystic St. John of the Cross and contemporary writer Charles Anthony Silvestri.

Content advisory for HERE I AM: I AM HERE  

The libretto refers to a character called "Em." In her book, What We Will Become: A Mother, A Son, and a Journey of Transformation, Mimi Lemay explains that the name '"Em" is a pseudonym Jacob and she chose to avoid using his birth name. The pronouns used to refer to “Em”—“she” and “her”—represent Jacob's parents’ initial assumptions about his gender before he declared himself, and like the pseudonym, were used with express permission from Jacob.

Conversion therapy scenes:
Both the libretto and music contain depictions from Sam's narrative of the conversion therapy they survived, with references to electric shock, needles, heat and ice. 

There will be reference to suicide risk in this piece. If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available by calling 988.

Photo: Sam Brinton

[With this piece] "we move beyond conversion therapy. We call it out. We hold it. We understand that the pain exists and now, we do something about it: We write a letter, we say 'I can look back now at this pain—at a pandemic, at an AIDS crisis—I can look back, see, and do something.That is something that I think is really powerful." Sam Brinton on HERE I AM: I AM HERE 


THE LETTERS PROJECT:  Inspired by Lemay and Brinton's moving letters, Coro Allegro and community partners like the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY) and the Mass Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) invite the LGBTQ+ community and allies to submit your own open letters of support and messages of affirmation for LGBTQ+ youth and their families.


The Letters to Our Children concert is sponsored by Steve Vorenberg & Kerry Marshall and supported in part by grants from Choral Arts New England, the Equality Fund of the Boston Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.