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Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus shows

Choral group takes on challenge

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In May, the Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus will undertake the biggest challenge in its 32-two year history when it presents the region’s premiere of one of the most important large-scale choral works in recent years.

Set to the score of a nine-piece orchestra, Two Boys Kissing is Joshua Shank’s oratorio adaptation of David Levithan’s award-winning novel chronicling the relationships and difficulties of today’s gay youth. Based on true-life events and told through narrative and song, it shares the stories of two gay teenagers who attempt a 32-hour continuous kiss to set a world record, a transgender teen who falls in love at a gay prom, and a teen whose sexual orientation is discovered by his conservative parents.

As the clock ticks down, the boys are watched over by a Greek-chorus of gay men who lost their lives to the AIDS epidemic a generation earlier, and now watch the world that’s come after them with both sadness and joy. The message delivered is about more than being gay – it’s about the crossroads of freedom, equality and hatred. It gives voice to the life experiences of LGBT individuals, recalling the struggles of those who previously walked this same path, and offering hope within the progressive growth of acceptance in today’s society.

A timely tribute to the 50th year observance of the Stonewall Uprising, it is also a reminder of those who continue to battle the stigma of a faceless enemy in their daily lives, so movingly captured in the lyrics of this masterpiece: Some of us, they stayed behind. They think of us most every day. They watch over you with us in mind. They survived to show you the way.

Two Boys Kissing is a poignant and powerful choral work that speaks to people across the generations and from all walks of life, and one that will resonate for years to come. Performances of this masterpiece will be presented to the public free of charge, as part of the chorus’ mission to give back to the community and make the arts accessible for all.

Performance dates are May 11, 7 p.m., Market Square Presbyterian Church, 20 S. 2nd St., Harrisburg; May 17, 7 p.m., St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 121 N. Spring St., Middletown; May 18, 7 p.m., Union Lutheran Church, 408 W. Market St., York.

The Harrisburg Gay Men's Chorus is a nonprofit organization.