Considering Matthew Shepard
By Craig Hella Johnson
Saturday, September 21 . 7:30 pm
First United Methodist Church Charlotte
Sunday, September 22 . 4:00 pm
Covenant Presbyterian Church Charlotte
Charlotte Master Chorale Chamber Singers
Northwest School of the Arts Chamber Choir
Members of the Charlotte Master Chorale
Kenney Potter, conducting
General Admission - $25
Groups of 10+ - $20 each
Students (w/valid ID @ the door) - $10
On October 7, 1998, Shepard – a gay student at the University of Wyoming – was beaten by two men, tied to a fence and deserted. It took nearly 18 hours until he was rescued and taken to a hospital. Five days later, he died. Shepard was 21. Two days after Shepard died, President Bill Clinton addressed a Washington D.C. vigil attended by thousands, saying, “In our shock and grief one thing must remain clear: Hate and prejudice are not American values.” Eleven years later, President Barack Obama signed “The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” into law.
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the tragic event, composer Craig Hella Johnson—who is also the founding artistic director of the acclaimed Austin, Texas-based choral group, Conspirare—created Considering Matthew Shepard. It is his first concert-length work.
The three-part "fusion oratorio" incorporates a variety of musical styles with texts by such poets as Hildegard of Bingen, Lesléa Newman, and Michael Dennis Browne, as well as passages from Matthew Shepard’s personal journal, interviews with his parents, and newspaper reports.
Audiences describe the work as “brilliant,” “powerful,” “innovative,” “dazzling,” and “gripping.”
“Matt Shepard and his story have led me on an inspiring, challenging and deeply meaningful journey that I continue to this day. 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.” – Craig Hella Johnson