Chorus members will meet with Encircle | ParkRecord.com

Chorus members will meet with Encircle

Provo nonprofit is a LGBT resource

When the Park City Institute schedules performers for its St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights summer concerts and the Main Stage concerts at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, it also tries to schedule additional outreach sessions with local students and organizations.

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, which will perform Sunday, will present a special outreach program on Saturday, said Teri Orr, Park City Institute executive director.
Seventeen of the singers will meet with Encircle, a Provo-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT youth and family resource center.

"This is the (nonprofit) group that had their entry pulled from Provo's (Freedom Festival Fourth of July Parade)," Orr said.

News reports stated the Freedom Festival rescinded Encircle's invitation, because the parade official deemed the organization an advocacy group.

The meeting will be in Provo shortly after the chorus arrives in Utah and is made possible by private donors, Orr said.

Chris Verdugo, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus executive director, said the singers are excited to meet Encircle.

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"When we initially began planning this trip to Utah, we didn't even know it was a possibility to visit, but we're thrilled we've been able to make it happen," Verdugo said in an email interview. "We'll be bringing a small group of Chorus members … to share stories, sing and talk with the residents.

"As you may be aware, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is embarking on a landmark tour of the Deep South this fall (and will visit) states that have major discriminatory laws aimed at the lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. It is our hope that SFGMC's music will encourage LGBTQ people and our allies to come together, provoke conversations and action around civil liberties for all, while raising funds for local LGBTQ organizations."

The visit to Encircle joins with the chorus' mission of strengthening the community through shared dialogue and music.

"We're incredibly proud of the work that Encircle is already doing in the community and so glad we can be a part of it," Verdugo said.

Orr said these types of outreach programs fall under the Park City Institute's mission to entertain, educate and illuminate.

"It is at the core of who we are," she said. "The chorus originally was going to tour Europe in October, but after the Presidential election, it realized it had work to do here at home. When I saw that, I thought we could start that a little sooner. So this is a preview
of what they are going to do."