Stage Door News

St. Catharines: Avanti Chamber Singers present “Considering Matthew Shepard” April 22-23

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Avanti Chamber Singers is thrilled to make its debut performance at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre with Considering Matthew Shepard, our most ambitious work to date. Featuring narration, numerous soloists, and a small chamber ensemble, our presentation of this choral work marks the start of an exciting new era for Avanti Chamber Singers.

In the fall of 1998, Matthew Shepard, a young, gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming was attacked and left for dead. Matt succumbed to his injuries five days later, leaving his parents, brother, and loved ones to mourn him. National attention to the tragedy soon memorialized Matt’s death, with thousands of mourners traveling to Laramie to attend vigils and pay their respects.

25 years later, Matthew’s legacy continues to reverberate, from the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s work in promoting equality and acceptance, to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted by President Obama in 2009 to formalize protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

In 2016, American choral composer Craig Hella Johnson chose to honour Matthew’s life and death in Considering Matthew Shepard. This three-part oratorio fuses together a wide range of musical genres, embodying the very diversity it seeks to celebrate.

Music is woven carefully with spoken word, taking listeners and performers on an emotional journey that addresses the perspective of the hate crime’s perpetrators, celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of great loss, and recognizes our common need to be loved and understood.

Considering Matthew Shepard

April 22, 7:30PM & April 23, 3:00PM

Tickets: $30

Students: $20

(plus handling fees + HST)

Illustration: Cover of the Harmonia Mundi recording of Considering Matthew Shepard. © 2016.