This is going to be quite a week! Tomorrow, we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and this coming Friday, our country swears in a new president. Regardless of who one voted for, the election results surprised nearly everyone. As someone who hails from Indiana and has lived in New York City for twenty years, I have witnessed first-hand the growing chasm between the "red states" and "blue states." As the population has shifted to urban areas, the ideological divide has only deepened. Our tendency is to surround ourselves with others who share our world view and eschew those whose views differ. Our ability to listen (really listen) and to empathize with our neighbors has been replaced with online attacks on complete strangers.
After the election, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus made the decision to cancel their international tour in celebration of their 40th anniversary season and to replace it with a tour to Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Their director Tim Seelig summed up their decision with these words. "In response to the election, we decided we have as much work to do at home as we would do abroad. We want to go to those places that are still strongholds of this kind of discrimination and bigotry. And bring our voice. And encourage people there with our music. And also hopefully change some hearts and minds." This is the work we all should commit ourselves to, whether our candidate won the election or not. This is the power of choral music. If we can listen to each other's song, maybe we'll be willing to listen to each other's words. Here's the video the SFGMC released to announce the Lavender Pen Tour. Learn more about the chorus and the tour at http://www.sfgmc.org/