This October, the Glamaphones will be showcasing their versatility by performing two great works by Leonard Bernstein. This programme of two halves will feature songs from “the greatest musical of all-time”, West Side Story, as well as the choral classic, Chichester Psalms. While being pieces of contrasting genres, they were the works of a singular man of genius, and will again be brought together by the Glamaphones’ inimitable passion of delivery.
This concert is quite a departure for the Glamaphones. Rachel Hyde’s programmes for the choir have incorporated the music of all genres, and the choir was ready for a new challenge with a new, albeit temporary, director. Upon taking on the choir’s directorship this term, Thomas Nikora has challenged Wellington’s rainbow choir with Chichester Psalms, a decidedly difficult piece in the choral canon. This will be balanced by the familiarity and eternal popularity of the West Side Story pieces.
Written in 1957, West Side Story has endured, and explores social and political themes such as bigotry, racism, disempowered young and the complexity of love.
This concert will also be performed in a new venue - St Peter’s on Willis. This venue will not be unfamiliar. St Peter’s is a progressive church (not unlike our home, St Andrew’s on the Terrace) and is also where Jean Malcolm, the Glamaphones’ first musical director, is a co-vicar. A significant point of difference is, of course, its fully-functional organ, a vital element of our arrangement of the Psalms. St Andrew’s is currently fundraising to restore its own glorious pipe organ.
The Glamaphones continues its string of successful collaborations in this performance, with instrumentalists (including an organist) and a special guest countertenor singing in the Psalms.
Although some people who knew Bernstein claimed he was 'only homosexual' (such as Laurents, his West Side Story collaborator) other sources, including vignettes written by his daughter, Jamie Bernstein, indicate that his sexuality was not as simple or as black and white as many would be led to believe. According to Jamie and others, Bernstein led a happy life with his wife Felicia, which suggests he may have been bisexual.
We cannot assume to speak on behalf of Bernstein, but we want to acknowledge that sexuality is nuanced, and as a queer choir we embrace all expressions of sexual identity. We know that sexuality is not a fixed binary of straight/gay and therefore it is not up to us to define Bernstein's sexuality.
Pre-sales are $10 (or free for under 13-year-olds). Door sales will be $15.