Kelly Sundin, a singer in our tenor section, shares their thoughts on the songs "What If Truth is All We Have?" and "And We Walked" from the choral suite "Quiet No More".
"What if truth is all we have? What if truth is all we can hold on to?"
This song reverberates in my core, and haunts me. In our current political climate and cultural moment, truth is sometimes such a slippery concept, a weighted and yet tenuous thing. Truth can, however, be one of the only things that remains yours when everything else is taken from you. This song fits perfectly in the revolutionary time 50 years ago that is commemorated by Quiet No More, but it is anthemic for social justice movements before Stonewall and until today.
"If we stand in our light can we get through? In this sea of lies, can we stay true?"
Right now, today, coming from every direction, there are unrelenting, concerted efforts to take truth away from us, to intentionally confuse, deform, deflect, incite, distract, deny, and use every dirty rhetorical trick to annihilate rational, critical thinking and common sense. Do not fall for it. Do not give in to it. Speak out and shine a light on it.
"I think of the faces that I never see anymore..."
As a child growing up in San Francisco the 1980's, I started to notice blank spaces appearing in the tapestry of my world. Everywhere, so suddenly, there were vast black holes of unquiet silence where people used to be: my upstairs neighbors, a teacher at school, the bus driver, the man at the corner store... No one told me where they went. Everyone seemed scared, or angry, or sad but they only talked in hushed tones that would fall silent as the children entered the room. Eventually there were countless overwhelming school assemblies, non-profit educators coming into classes, information pamphlets and films talking about AIDS and then about HIV and how not to get it, how to get tested, how to get treatment, but for years they never really talked about the people. This homophobia-, shame-, and fear-fueled silence wounded so many in a generation of children because they noticed, and sensed their worlds blown asunder and no one would validate it, talk about it, or help them to process it. To find out later that all the absence was instead death was a vast betrayal to the children and to the people who died. It seemed a two-fold lesson that intimacy is deadly and that if you do not behave, you could disappear and no one would care.
"The men and the women and children all walk over me. And try as they might they can't help but look in my eyes and see the boys who were children and then the men they barely got to be."
Singing these lyrics gives me goosebumps as I feel the spirits of those people who died, mostly young gay men, finally having a voice, demanding that folks who trod on them finally see them. I sing it to exorcise the demon of the silence that sowed seeds of distrust and fear in my aching childhood heart and erased good, loving, sweet, vibrant, smart, sparkling people with beautiful lives that ended too soon, and whose stories needed to be told and remembered.
LGCSF will be performing "Quiet No More", a brand new choral suite celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, at our OUT in the Streets concert on May 31. Get tickets at https://stonewall50.brownpapertickets.com/.