We are very excited to be performing the remarkable oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard! The concert is being held on the 13th of October, at 7:00 pm at the Alexander Theatre on Clayton Campus. We’re rehearsing every week at our normal time and place of Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 pm at Clayton campus’ Religious Centre.
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.”
For further information on this moving and powerful work, please visit the website of Conspirare (the original ensemble that performed the piece). If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!