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I Am Harvey Milk

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Activist Harvey Milk was one of the first openly-gay elected officials in the United States.  In 1978, eleven months after his election, Milk was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall.  That year, future Broadway composer Andrew Lippa was only 14 years old, but as time went by he grew more aware of Harvey Milk.  In 2013, Lippa premiered an hour-long choral work, I Am Harvey Milk, which has since been performed around the country.  The New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus brings it to Santa Fe and Rio Rancho this month.

"I think that when music is wonderful, people do . . . have feelings of connections with it, but [I Am Harvey Milk] goes way deeper for us," says NMGMC's Artistic Director Aaron Howe of the Chorus.  "The finale is called 'Tired of the Silence,' encouraging us to come out.  All of us have a coming-out story, whether it was at six years old . . . or much later in life.  It takes a while, but once we finally cross that threshold, we can do powerful things."

In this longer version of the interview, Aaron explains how Andrew Lippa has constructed this 12-song work, and he describes NMGMC's guests for the concert, three soloists and a community orchestra.

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Spencer Beckwith reports on the arts for KUNM. For ten years, until March of 2014, Spencer was the producer and host of KUNM's "Performance New Mexico," a weekday morning arts program that included interviews with musicians, writers and performers. Spencer is a graduate of the acting program at the Juilliard School, and, before moving to New Mexico in 2002, was for many years a professional actor based in New York City.