Sparking awareness with song: Knoxville Gay Men's Chorus to perform in Kingsport

Mackenzie Moore • Updated May 28, 2018 at 2:10 PM

The Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus will pitch into LGBTQ awareness with its performance of “Broadway on Tour” June 3 at 5 p.m. at the Renaissance Arts Center and Theatre in Kingsport. Admission will be based on donations, and all proceeds will be granted to Tri-Pride, a regional LGBTQ organization.

KGMC bonded a group of people with one trait in common, but they stemmed from various backgrounds, professions and educations. The chorus bloomed from 15 men in 2012 to more than 80 active members, half of whom will be on tour for the performance in Kingsport.

“Broadway on Tour” will feature musical highlights from the most recent show, “Broadway on Gay Street,” which aimed to showcase problems LGBTQ members face.

“Our concert tells a story of people coming to terms with their sexuality,” Artistic Director Alan Stevens said. “Who we are is irrelevant. We are coming together to create music in hopes of raising positive awareness.”

Considering themselves the “voices of equality,” KGMC set to increase awareness for the LGBTQ community. The choral group is the only gay men’s chorus in Tennessee and one of the state’s largest LGBTQ advocates. Stevens, who is also the associate director of choral activities at East Tennessee State University, stressed that characteristics do not parallel morals and hoped that KGMC’s performances spark new ideologies.

“The biggest thing we can do is to be open and accept differences,” he said. “Before we negatively react to people or assume things about them, we need to get to know them and see what they’re about.”

Stevens worried for younger generations developing the belief their sexuality was not acceptable due to social norms. He wanted them to know that LGBTQ organizations existed and that success was possible despite sexual orientation.

“It’s important, especially for younger students,” Stevens said. “They may come from backgrounds without experience with this. Realize you can grow up to be a well-adjusted person as a part of the LGBTQ community.”

Open discussion could help bridge together different communities and encourage acceptance among many social groups, according to Stevens. This was KGMC’s goal.

“Sometimes there’s this idea that it’s OK not to talk about it or discuss it,” he said. “Others need to look at diversity and not be afraid or offended by it and accept people for who they are.”

Other performance locations will include Chattanooga and Nashville with the times and dates on the KGMC website.


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