After a very successful concert in Semester 1, we are so excited to be starting the next journey with our choristers – this time into the incredible oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard! First rehearsal is on the 11th of July, 6:00-8:30 pm at the Religious Centre on Clayton Campus, and we’ll continue rehearsing weekly after that – we’d love to be joined by as many of you as possible for this amazing work! MonUCS continues to be an unauditioned choir, meaning that anyone who is interested is more than welcome. You don’t have to have sung with us in semester 1 – if you haven’t got a membership yet you can pick one up here.
Background – CWs homophobic violence and murder
Considering Matthew Shephard was composed by Johnson in response to the 20th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Matthew Shepard, a young, gay student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in a lonely field under a blanket of stars. Five days later, when Matt passed away, the world was watching.
According to the Matthew Shepard Foundation:
‘Approaching the eve of the 20th anniversary of Matt’s murder, composer Craig Hella Johnson responded with his first concert-length work, Considering Matthew Shepard. This three-part fusion oratorio speaks with a fresh and bold voice, incorporating a variety of musical styles seamlessly woven into a unified whole. Johnson sets a wide range of poetic and soulful texts by poets including Hildegard of Bingen, Lesléa Newman, Michael Dennis Browne, and Rumi. Passages from Matt’s personal journal, interviews and writings from his parents Judy and Dennis Shepard, newspaper reports, and additional texts by Johnson and Browne are poignantly appointed throughout the work.’
Jason Marsden, former Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation called Considering Matthew Shepard “by far the most intricate, beautiful and unyielding artistic response to this notorious anti-gay hate crime.”
We are so excited to take on the challenge of performing this powerful and important work! You can go here to read up further on the piece, or here to watch a full performance. If you have any further questions about the upcoming season, feel free to get in touch!