LETTERS TO OUR CHILDREN:
Voices for LGBTQ+ Youth

COFFEE CONCERT:
 Friday, July 12, 2024 at 11:30am EDT / 10:30am CT
Minneapolis Conference Center Auditorium
Minneapolis, MN

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LETTERS WORKSHOP:
Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 10:00am EDT / 9:00 am CT

Coro Allegro is proud to perform a powerful work based on letters to transgender youth and survivors of conversion therapy for the thousands of LGBTQ+ and allied singers gathered for the 2024 international GALA CHORUSES FESTIVAL in Minneapolis, MN.

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,  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 and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s soaring setting of poetry by 16th-century mystic St. John of the Cross and contemporary writer Charles Anthony Silvestri.

Program
ANDREA CLEARFIELD, HERE I AM: I AM HERE  
based on open letters to a transgender boy & to a survivor of conversion therapy
by LGBTQ+ youth advocates Mimi Lemay and Sam Brinton
RONALD PERERA, When Music Sounds
OLA GJEILO,
Luminous Night of the Soul
Photo: Composers_for_We_Will_Not_Be_Erased_4.pn

Guest Artists:
Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano
Jonas Budris, tenor
Andrea Clearfield, narrator
Thomas Jones, narrator
Arneis Quartet
The Arneis Quartet:
Heather Braun, violin
Rose Drucker, violin
Daniel Doña, viola
Agnes Kim, cello
Shiela Kibbe, pianist

Content advisoroes for HERE I AM: I AM HERE  

Pronouns:
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. 

Suicidality:
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 

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ADD YOUR VOICE TO THE LETTERS PROJECT:

Postcard for Letters Project

Inspired by these 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.

ADD YOUR VOICE

Letters to Our Children was supported in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Boston Cultural Council

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORLD PREMIERE
Thank you to our guest artists, our community partners, and the wonderful audience who stood with us at the world premiere concert,  Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 3pm at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, Boston. Enjoy these concert highlights, photos, previews and reviews.

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