The politics of Beethoven

Tin Man: Sing Softly. Interesting story from my friend the Tin Man about being asked to identify himself as a member of the Gotham Chorus, not the Gay Gotham Chorus, for the sake of a bunch of Baptist college girls who were paying to sing in Carnegie Hall with them. I like the solution that Mipiel identifies in the comments: “after the concert, casually walk hand in hand with Matt until the Baptists can see, and then give each other a big hug and kiss. Then walk away as if nothing happened. If they’re unable to accept that gay men (and lesbians) are ordinary people just like them who do ordinary things like singing Beethoven that’s their problem, not yours.”

Still, it sucks all the way around—sucks for Tin Man and Matt, sucks for the Alabama kids that they have to be protected that way, sucks for Tin Man’s former glee club director that he, even as the concert manager, didn’t feel he had enough power to turn the occurrence into a “teachable moment” for his Southern guests.

I’m reminded, by contrast, of Robert Shaw, who regularly integrated Southern hotels and restaurants as he traveled around the country in the ’40s and ’50s with the Robert Shaw Chorale. Or Donald Loach, who directed the Virginia Glee Club from the 1960s through the 1980s, who integrated diners at truck stops in rural Virginia with his integrated Glee Club at the same time that the state was mounting its Massive Resistance campaign.