ATLANTA — Be THE Voice, a student bystander empowerment program started in Roswell, is partnering with Coro Vocati, a leading Atlanta-based professional chamber choir, in the choir’s upcoming production of “Considering Matthew Shepard.” The musical journey about the life and legacy of Matthew Shepard will honor the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death. 

Shepard’s death led to the creation of The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Passed by Congress in 2009, the Act gives federal authorities the power to pursue charges in hate crimes targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals when local law enforcement officials cannot or will not do so.

“Considering Matthew Shepard” pairs the chamber choir with visuals and features jazz, country and classic solos. The performance will be supported with poetic texts and passages from Shepard’s journal. 

Coro Vocati’s performance will be the first professional premiere of the work in Georgia. 

“‘Considering Matthew Shepard’ is a unique musical experience that is both heartbreaking and uplifting, and we are thrilled to be one of the first professional choirs apart from Conspirare to bring this piece to life for audiences,” said Coro Vocati Artistic Director John Dickson. “Twenty years after Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die simply for being gay, his story remains extremely relevant. ‘Considering Matthew Shepard’ chronicles how hate can lead people to attack those viewed as ‘different,’ and it promotes a message of love and acceptance that society needs now more than ever.”

To amplify this message, Coro Vocati is partnering with Be THE Voice to highlight the importance of standing up for others.

Coro Vocati is inviting select high school students from throughout metro Atlanta and members of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Atlanta Women’s Chorus and OurSong to join in singing one of the final pieces of the program, “All of Us. 

Coro Vocati’s production of “Considering Matthew Shepard” will occur during LGBTQ Pride Month on Saturday, June 29 at 8 p.m. at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Tickets range in price from $20-$50. For more information, visit citysprings.com/events.

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