Holcombe Waller’s Requiem Mass: LGBT / Working Title (MAP 2014) premieres September 11 and 12.
This musical and ceremonial choral work will be performed in Portland’s historic Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (including the 30-foot Rosales church organ) as part of PICA’s Time-Based Arts Festival (TBA). The choir and ensemble are community members of all-abilities and all walks of life who were drawn towards the project’s mission. That mission, you ask? A deep exploration of contemporary faith, advocacy through art, and collective catharsis with connections to awareness-raising around issues of gender and sexual diversity within communities of faith. As Waller said, rehearsals have been really fun.
Both emotional and personal, Requiem Mass joins the past and present by invoking remembrance and peace for the dead who have suffered persecution for their sexual orientation or gender expression. Creation of this work was additionally informed by research into pivotal gay history from the 1980s through present day. Requiem Mass‘s community engagement has included working with experts in liturgical music, queer theory, faith-based equality initiatives as well as over 100 participants in a series of choral workshops with Waller over the past year, and continues after the premiere with a conversation with Holcombe Waller and community choir participants on September 13. This conversation will shed light on the development of Requiem Mass: LGBT / Working Title, including aesthetic constructs, conceptual underpinnings, public engagement, and partnership experiences across faith-based and queer communities.
PICA Artistic Director Angela Mattox calls this a pretty epic piece — we couldn’t agree more. Requiem Mass: LGBT / Working Title has its world premiere at TBA on September 11 and 12, with a conversation with Holcombe Waller on September 13. Tickets and more information available here.