||Choir forms using music to bridge all people
For two decades, the New Wave Singers of Baltimore, NWSB, have been trying to bridge the gap between the gay men’s, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual communities of Baltimore, Md., through music and events such as their annual Cabaret.
Since branching off from the Baltimore Men’s Chorus, the diverse choir has been “making music that matters,” the choir’s mission statement. The choir was formed in 1985. According to Cheryl Whittington, former president of choir, the formation was based on the principle that homosexual women and men could work together. So they decided to form the more inclusive choir.
“We wanted to bridge the gap between the lesbian and gay communities, so we could unite on issues relating to us,” she said.
The volunteer choir now consists of 45 members and it is the only homosexual and heterosexual choir in Maryland. The choir is working to expand membership to all people, Whittington said.
The choir’s principle has attracted individuals such as Lisa Griffee. She has been involved with the choir for 11 years and is the new president of the NWSB. She said she became a member of the choir because of the music and to develop a connection with the members.
“I discovered the choir at a Baltimore Pride Festival. I had always been involved in music programs,” Griffee said. “But the New Wave Singers seemed like the perfect fit to blend my love of music with my desire to connect with the gay and lesbian community.”
Mary Evans, artistic director of the choir, joined the NWSB in 2000. Evans works full-time as a teacher for the Baltimore City Public School System. She is also finishing course work at Goucher College to become an assistant principal.
With her busy schedule, Evans finds time to arrange the music for the choir. She also helps to organize the choir for their performances and lead the choir at different events. However, Evans said because she believes in the choir’s mission, it is all worth it. The choir brings all people together, she said.
The choir sponsors several events annually to share its mission. The events include its first performance of the year titled, “First Night,” their longest running hit Cabaret performed in March, two spring concerts and the GALA Festival. The NWSB also performs at numerous community events, including the Baltimore Pride Festival.
For more information on the NWSB and upcoming events, visit their web site.