Portland Lesbian Choir Commemorates 19th Amendment with 100th Anniversary Concert

Born to Celebrate! runs for two nights this weekend at the Central Lutheran Church.

By Kyle Sosa February 6, 2020

"Lifting as we Climb" composer Joan Symko.

Ever wonder what a mashup of “Careless Whisper” and 100 belting lesbians might sound like? There’s one way to find out.

This weekend, the Portland Lesbian Choir is serving female-empowered fabulousness in Born to Celebrate!, a Suffragette-inspired concert at Irvington's Central Lutheran Church. The centerpiece is a 30-minute choral suite called “Lifting as We Climb,” written by Portland-based composer Joan Szymko, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment.

 “When we bring a message like this, and it’s not just LGBTQ specific, we have a chance of reaching a larger audience,” says choir director Mary McCarty. 

The performance is segmented into three narrative sections, focusing on events before, during, and after the amendment’s passage. In addition to the music, Friday and Saturday’s performances will include historical narratives about famous suffragettes read by local activist Kathleen Sadaat and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

“I think this is a real opportunity for the Portland Lesbian Choir,” says McCarty. “This piece and this concert has been really satisfying for me to continue our foundation of being a voice for social justice.” 

Born to Celebrate!

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Feb. 7–8, Central Lutheran Church, $15–20

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