First Memphis is proud to host a performance of Considering Matthew Shepard in conjunction with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Memphis and the Memphis Symphony Chorus. The performance is Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 pm.  The concert is free, but donations will benefit OUTMemphis Metamorphosis Project.

On the evening of October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tortured, and left to die on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. He died on October 12, never having regained consciousness. His senseless torture and murder galvanized people around the world to take up the light for LGBTQ+ civil rights and to speak out against hate crimes. His parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the goal of which is to “amplify the story of Matthew Shepard to inspire individuals, organizations and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all people.”

Approaching the eve of the 20th anniversary of Matt’s murder, composer Craig Hella Johnson responded with his first concert-length work, Considering Matthew Shepard. This three-part fusion oratorio speaks with a fresh and bold voice, incorporating a variety of musical styles seamlessly woven into a unified whole. Johnson sets a wide range of poetic and soulful texts by poets including Hildegard of Bingen, Lesléa Newman, Michael Dennis Browne, and Rumi. Passages from Matt’s personal journal; interviews and writings from his parents Judy and Dennis Shepard; newspaper reports; and additional texts by Johnson and Browne are poignantly appointed throughout the work.

This performance will be a moving, stirring evening of music.

The concert will be held Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 pm. Click this link for more information.

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