Director’s Notes, Robert Russell: I had an opportunity to hear Considering Matthew Shepard while attending a recent national convention of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. I attended out of curiosity, not certain what I would hear: posturing, preaching, complaint, chaos… What I heard moved me: the story of a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time who met the wrong people. Described as a fusion oratorio – elements of musical theater, choral a cappella, gospel, country & western, and opera, accompanied by string quartet, piano, clarinet, guitars (acoustic and electric) and percussion – Considering Matthew Shepard tells the tragic story in simple, often understated terms, with narration and commentary from chorus and soloists. It was a wrenching experience that profoundly affected me – ultimately the story of “life over death, love over hate, light over darkness.” This composition has all the hallmarks of a classic: a musical experience of immediate interest whose resonance will permeate the musical world for many years to come. I want to share that experience with audiences in Southern Maine.
Supported in part by an Alfred Nash Patterson Grant from Choral Arts New England.
Tickets will go on sale closer to the end of summer.