The NH Master Chorale is quickly approaching performances of Considering Matthew Shepard on November 16, 17, and 18 across the state. In the upcoming weeks we will be sharing reflections from members of the choir expressing thoughts from our rehearsal process preparing this intense and emotional work.
Becca Mansfield - Alto - Member Since 2018
Upon my first listen to “Considering Matthew Shepard”, the movement that stuck out most to me was the song about a third of the way through, ‘Keep it Away.' I instantly connected to the blues and jazz feel of the song. Until recently however, I didn’t really understand its context within the story.
What was this song about? And how did it relate to Matthew Shepard?
It didn’t make sense to me until a few days ago, when there was a shooting in a Pittsburgh Synagogue. As we are all aware, our country is facing a frightening and honestly just downright ugly time. Our administration is encouraging acts of violence, especially towards minorities and it is sickening.
I am only 23, just graduated from college, and trying to live on my own for the first time. I’m just trying myself to keep my footing, but it is becoming increasingly harder when the world underneath me is constantly quaking. I realized I had kept seeing news reports, Facebook updates, banners on all media, tv, radio, that were discussing the tragedy. Lately, this seems like a weekly occurrence.
I am ashamed to say this, but I ignored it. I wanted no part in it. I am done hearing about tragedies within our country. And then it hit me.
This song that I had so connected to, I realized I had no concept of what it was talking about until this moment. “Keep it away from me. I don’t want to look on this... grief too deep... stay out of my heart.” This dark ashamed feeling I was experiencing is exactly what the movement was referring to and I’m sure how many people felt at the time of Matthew’s death. The feeling of ‘There is only so much I can handle, and maybe if I just ignore it I won’t have to deal with the reality of this ugliness in the world.” But I also realize this is how things stay stagnant, unchanging. How lucky am I that I can chose what to listen to and what not to? That I am not directly involved?
These past few months, I have been reflecting on the events that occurred surrounding Matthew’s death and how similar our country is acting today. Immense hate and fear being born out of something so gruesome. But along with this, immense courage, bravery, and a fight for change.
So, from now on, I am choosing to listen, to act, and to be brave. Listen to the stories and to accept them. Instead of keeping it away, I will try my hardest to make this world better in any way I can, even if that is just educating myself on the events of today.
Considering Matthew Shepard tells a story which must never be forgotten.
Performance Details - Tickets Available Here
Friday, November 16 at 8PM – South Church: 292 State St. Portsmouth, NH
Saturday, November 17 at 7:30PM - First Congregational Church: 177 N. Main St, Concord, NH
Sunday, November 18 at 4PM - Plymouth Congregational Church: 4 Post Office Square, Plymouth, NH
The New Hampshire Master Chorale, led by Dr. Dan Perkins, is a non-profit choir established in the spring of 2003. This premier chamber ensemble is dedicated to excellence in the art of choral music performance. Members of the group are trained singers, auditioned from throughout New England, who have performed as soloists and in choral ensembles throughout the world. You can get a taste of the NHMC on our SoundCloud page: soundcloud.com/nh-master-chorale or find us on Facebook and twitter: www.facebook.com/NHMasterChorale and twitter.com/nhmasterchorale.
Tickets available at nhmasterchorale.org and at the door — $30 general, $25 senior, $15 group of 10+
Free admission for undergraduates and students in grades K–12.
The New Hampshire Master Chorale also utilizes a “Pay What You Are Able” ticket policy so that anyone can attend regardless of financial ability. We welcome all donations to support this.
The New Hampshire Master Chorale is funded in part by a generous grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.