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‘This Is Me’ concert marks Pride Week

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus will celebrate Gay Pride Week with a medley of folk, rock, soul and Broadway at The Hiland Theater next weekend.

The 50 singers borrowed this year’s theme from “This Is Me,” the Oscar nominated song from the 2017 movie “The Greatest Showman,” starring Hugh Jackman.

The concert will celebrate self-expression and individuality, director Aaron Howe said.

“Some people are different, but we want to accept all kinds of people,” Howe said. “We don’t all look the same; we don’t all have the same personalities.”

The eclectic song mix features “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and the old Sam and Dave hit “Soul Man.” The singers give a nod to the Beatles with “When I’m 64.”

The group threw in “Men in Tights” just for silliness, Howe said.

Newer numbers will include “Not My Father’s Son” from the Cyndi Lauper musical “Kinky Boots.”

“This one’s more of a kind of struggle; I’m not what my father wanted me to be,” Howe said.

“Testimony” was written by the Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin,” “Wicked”).

A choral piece inspired by interviews from the LGBT “It Gets Better Project,” the song begins with individual expressions of self-hatred and despair that sometimes end in suicide. The lyrics move to a collective assurance from their older counterparts expressing how much better their lives are and how grateful and glad they are to be living them. Originally written for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, “Testimony” has been widely performed by both men’s and mixed choruses.

“It’s ‘I know you’re struggling now as a teenager, but things will get better’,” Howe said.

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner, Terry Miller, to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. LGBT kids and teens often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying.

Since its founding, the “It Gets Better Project” has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times.

Founded in 1981, the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus performs three concerts annually.

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