Empire City Men’s Chorus Announces “Prothalamia” Concerts Exploring Marriage Equality


Bob Bronzo

Monday, May 3, 2010, New York, NY – Adding a classical music voice to the politically-charged issue of marriage and civil partnerships, the Empire City Men’s Chorus has commissioned a new men’s choral work, “Prothalamia”, comprising songs and odes exploring marriage equality.   The world premiere of the piece will be presented at the chorus’s upcoming spring concerts in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Performances will be on Sunday, May 23, 2010 3:00 PM at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (at 121st Street), Manhattan and Tuesday May 25, 2010 8:00 PM at Church of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights.

In explaining the genesis of “Prothalamia”, Christopher Clowdus, Artistic Director of the Empire City Men’s Chorus said, “Our goal with this piece, beyond
commissioning a new choral work of substance, is to draw people into meaningful conversation about marriage and what it means to individuals and to society. B
ecause many of the current issues surrounding marriage have not yet been
reflected upon in music, we hope this work will both expand and deepen the form and substance of the larger national debate.”

Two prominent award-winning American composers, Charles Norman Mason and Dorothy Hindman of Birmingham Alabama--who are themselves a married couple--have created the new work.  Adhering to the multi-movement form of the Latin Mass, “Prothalamia” is based on secular poetry and prose pieces about marriage, relationships, and partnerships, without regard to race or gender.  The texts of “Prothalamia” are drawn from ancient Gregorian chant as well as works by Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, 17th-century poet Anne Bradstreet, and the ancient Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialis.

Irwin Kroot, President of the Chorus, said, “We are proud that we are able to make a new artistic statement regarding this important and timely issue, enthusiastic about the challenges of working with this musically exciting and innovative piece, and joyful about using our artistic ability in this attempt to draw communities together.”

In addition to the commissioned piece, the chorus will perform works from Heitor Villa-Lobos, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Morten Lauridsen and Randall Thompson.

The Empire City Men’s Chorus is New York City’s only predominantly gay men’s choir dedicated to the performances of classical music and is currently celebrating its 17th season of concerts.

For further information or to obtain tickets visit www.empirecitymenschorus.org.