THE SINGERS TO PERFORM CRAIG HELLA JOHNSON’S MASTERFUL ORATORIO CONSIDERING MATTHEW SHEPARD
“This modern-day Passion will move many listeners to tears even as it reaches beyond tragedy to peace, understanding, and forgiveness.” – Chicago Tribune
SAINT PAUL – April 6, 2022 – The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists under the direction of Artistic Director Matthew Culloton, will bring the powerful story of Matthew Shepard to life with performances of Considering Matthew Shepard, May 8 at St. Andrews in Mahtomedi and May 15 at Ted Mann on the University of Minnesota Campus.
The oratorio composed by Minnesota native, Craig Hella Johnson tells the true story of Matthew Shepard, a young gay student in Wyoming who was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. This powerful work masterfully uses song, narration, and video, to move audiences through the details of the event, arriving at a place of forgiveness, acceptance and in the end, love.
“Matt Shepard and his story have led me on an inspiring, challenging and deeply meaningful journey that I continue to this day,” says Johnson. “In composing Considering Matthew Shepard I wanted to create, within a musical framework, a space for reflection, consideration, and unity around his life and legacy,” Another Minnesotan native, Poet Michael Dennis Browne, co-wrote the libretto with Johnson. Additional texts are drawn from Lesléa Newman’s collection of poetry “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard.” Elliot Forrest created the moving video and a small orchestra will accompany this production.
“Bringing this piece to life, one that is musically intricate and challenging, but also carries a powerful message of tragedy as a force for change is vital for healing that still takes place today,” says Culloton, “I knew programing this piece would be an important reminder, as well as a mirror for issues that remain prevalent even 20 years later.”
A panel discussion will directly follow each performance with some very special guests and surprise moments for the audience, including members of Minnesota’s One Voice Mixed Chorus. The Singers are grateful to Rick and Linda Glasgow’s eLJay Foundation for their generous support of this production and The Singers.
For more information on tickets and The Singers, please visit www.singersmca.org or call (651) 917-1948. This concert will be performed under the health controls set by each venue.
Considering Matthew Shepard:
Sat 05.08.22, 3:00p | St. Andrew’s Lutheran, Mahtomedi
Sun 05.15.22, 3:00p | Ted Mann Concert Hall, University of Minnesota*
About The Singers:
The Singers, Minnesota Choral Artists is a 40-voice professional choir dedicated to giving world-class performances of the finest choral literature. Formed in 2004 and led by Artistic Director Dr. Matthew Culloton, The Singers is nationally recognized for their musical excellence, innovative programming, and commitment to new music.
Now in its 18th Season, The Singers have premiered and commissioned nearly 80 new works by composers including Stephen Paulus, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, Timothy Takach, Linda Kachelmeier, Abbie Betinis, Jocelyn Hagen, Joshua Shank, Craig Carnahan, and conductor Matthew Culloton. The 10th CD recording, Come to the Woods, was released in the fall of 2021.