What GALA Festival 2016 Means for Calliope

By Allie Wigley

Calliope heads to Denver for GALA Choruses Festival next weekend!  GALA Choruses connects over 130 LGBT choruses with over 6,000 singers at the festival, making it the largest LGBT arts event in the world. Started in 1983, the first festival occurred in New York, and a new North American city has hosted each year.  In fact, Minnesota hosted the second GALA in 1986 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

GALA Choruses’ mission, similar to Calliope’s, is to change the world through song.  They strive to be catalysts, providing resources and tools to their members.  As noted on their website, “[GALA Choruses] bring our communities together to experience musical excellence, collaboration, cooperation, acceptance, transparency, and opportunities for all.”  The festival, held every four years, is their flagship musical event that gives members and audiences a chance to experience this collectively.

We in Calliope have been looking forward to and preparing for this event since our season started in the fall.  If you attended any of our concerts this season, you had a preview of the songs we are bring to share.  Each member of Calliope has been committed all year to strengthening our sound and improving our technique in preparation.  Our set will include the uplifting acapella piece “Faith is the Bird,” the solemn but affirming “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark,” and our special 40th anniversary commission, “Everyone Sang,” by local composer Linda Kachelmeier.  We hope to deliver an inspiring set on community, love, and peace.

In light of the recent attack in Orlando, GALA could not come at a better time. It will give Calliope the chance to celebrate our identities, heal, and provide support along with other LGBT choruses from across the country and around the world.  As our audiences may know, Calliope is a group of lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual LGBT allies.  Members have been leaning on each other for comfort and encouragement in the wake of the Orlando shooting, and GALA is an opportunity for us to do this on a worldwide level.

Together our voices are strong and our message is powerful. We will celebrate the love and diversity in the LGBT community together and continue to share that message back in our communities.  When Calliope and other groups perform Kala Pierson’s “Power Lines,” specifically commissioned for this event, we hope what stays with attendees can be summed up in a lyric from the piece:  

“We have only begun to know the power that is in us.”