Twenty-five years after the hateful killing that ended Matthew Shepard’s life and helped galvanize the movement for LGBTQ+ equality, his story and that movement live on through “Considering Matthew Shepard,” a semi-staged oratorio coming to Kauffman Theater Friday and Sunday.
“Twenty-five years ago, a young gay man was tied to a fence in rural Wyoming and beaten. His injuries ultimately proved fatal. When I heard the news in the fall of 1998, I shuddered at the brutality and shared in the pain of a nation struggling to understand such a heinous act. Two and a half decades later, the legacy of Matthew Shepard continues to resonate. Matthew’s haunting life story had previously been told on stage and screen in The Laramie Project, but as I came to discover, for many, Matthew’s story had started to fade into history. JoAnn Kulesza, the music director of Arundel Vocal Arts Society, approached me a year ago about collaborating and joining forces for a production of Considering Matthew Shepard. I jumped at the opportunity. With everything going on in the world., we need to be reminded to ‘tell each other stories’ time and again, not just that hate exists but also how powerful its antidote, love, can be. In a lifetime of teaching choir, I have never encountered a work that creates such an immediate emotional response- in singer, player, conductor and audience member alike. I promise that unless you’ve seen Considering Matthew Shepard before, you have never experienced anything like this work. My hope is that you will leave feeling grateful- to be alive, to be a part of a better world, and to have the experience of living another day as a member of the human race. It’s a lot to ask of a choral piece, but I believe this work delivers.” -Professor Douglas Brandt Byerly
“Matthew Shepard’s story is one that we need to keep telling, so that we can remember and find meaning in it, as the composer says in one of the opening songs. Even though it is a heart breaking story, listening as a community can help us heal, feel hopeful, and find inspiration for protecting the futures of LGBTQ folx, especially in the current political climate.”
Mairin Srygley (mezzo-soprano), lead female soloist
Who: Opera AACC, the Arundel Vocal Arts Society, featuring the AACC Concert Choir, Chamber Orchestra, and Mairin Srygley (mezzo-soprano)
What: A semi-staged oratorio
When: 5/17 7:30 pm, 5/19 3 pm, with a Special Townhall: 25 Years “Considering Matthew Shepard” – Where Are We Now 5/16 7 pm
Where: Kauffman Theater in the Pascal Center for Performing Arts (101 College Pkwy., Arnold, MD)
Add to Calendar 20240519 America/New_York Opera AACC Presents Considering Matthew Shepard