One Voice Choir will present fundraiser for Canines with a Cause
Bryan Horn, founder and musical director of the One Voice Choir, said the holidays are supposed to be a joyous occasion.
Unfortunately, for many of his choir members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and who all have a connection with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the holidays are lonely.
"Many of our members have been ostracized by their own families and church members and they were going to be alone for the holidays," Horn said during an interview with The Park Record. "So, I knew I wanted to hold a special concert for us."
Then Horn thought of the thousands of military families who also have loved-ones who are separated from each other.
"I saw a parallel and decided to do something for them as well," Horn said. "So that’s what were doing."
One Voice Choir will present "Silent Night, Holy Night," a Christmas concert honoring the men and women of the United States Military at Christ United Methodist Church, 2375 E. 3300 South, in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.
The concert is a benefit and fundraiser for Park City’s Canines with a Cause, a nonprofit organization that helps shelter dogs find homes by training them to work as companion, therapy and service dogs for veterans in need.
"Christmas should be a very joyful time, but it’s not for many, especially our military families, who have members currently serving," Horn said. "We wanted to do something for them, but we also wanted to do something for those who have already served for our country."
That’s why he reached out to Canines with a Cause.
"The service animals that come through that program are more than just pets," Horn said. "They are life-saving companions for those service members who come home from duty.
"Without getting too political, in my eyes, our veterans don’t have the services they need to adjust back into society after they have served," he said. "These dogs provide help, comfort and hope for these veterans.
Horn also reached out to Canines with a Cause because he loves animals.
"I have horses and I have a wonderful golden retriever," he said. "She’s my best friend and I would take a bullet for her. It sounds kind of sad, but I love her more than some of my human friends."
Usually Horne will ask for donations during a performance to help the One Voice Choir fund upcoming concerts, but this time around the situation is different.
"Since it’s Christmas, I wanted to raise money for a cause that would help veterans," he said. "Whether it is one dollar or a million dollars, every little bit helps.
"Even if the concert just raises awareness of the program, it has done something," he said "We just wanted to give back to the community."
A majority of Saturday’s program will be sacred Christmas music, Horn said.
"We’ll sing pieces like ‘Go Tell It On the Mountain,’ ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Still Still Still,’" he said. "We are also planning to perform other songs such as ‘Welcome to Our World,’ ‘Song of the Stars’ and ‘When Love Came Down to Earth.’"
The evening will start with an audience-participation rendition of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."
"We’ll also sing two additional pieces — ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ — that will be sung with the audience," Horne said.
The program will also feature a military tribute that will include a reading of "The Christmas Truce," which is a true story about a 72-hour cease-fire between the allies and the German army during World War I at Christmastime.
"They had been engulfed in horrible trench warfare with each other, but agreed to a cease-fire on Christmas," Horn said. "When the cease-fire was established, both sides came out and buried their dead, prayed and exchanged Christmas gifts.
"During that 72 hours, they were friends, and after the cease-fire ended, they had to go back to being enemies," he said. "We will sing while the story is being told."
The segment will conclude with "Silent Night."
"We will also honor those who are currently serving in the military by singing ‘Bring Him Home,’" Horn said. "We will honor our veterans and those who have passed away with ‘Taps,’ played by Aaron Davis, one of our choir members who is a veteran and involved with Veterans for Peace and pushes for greater medical care for veterans."
The concert will end with the Mormon hymn, "God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again" and "O Come All Ye Faithful."
Horn, who founded One Voice Choir a year ago, dubs it "Utah’s most radically inclusive choir."
"In addition to our gay and lesbian singers, we also have singers who are what we call straight allies, who are also identified with the Mormon faith," he said. "Some of our members are currently active and serving in the church and we have singers who have been excommunicated to those who don’t want anything to do with the church, but have a spiritual connection through music."
One Voice Choir will present "Silent Night, Holy Night," a concert honoring the men and women of the United States Military at Christ United Methodist Church, 2375 E. 3300 South, in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted. The concert is a benefit and fundraiser for Canines with a Cause. For more information, visit http://www.canineswithacause.com .
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