Originally published on columbusunderground.com.

By Patrick Roehrenbeck

“Voices Raised, Lives Changed”. What does this phrase mean to you? Speaking out against inequality, helping those less fortunate, ensuring a voice for those who may not feel they have one, advocating against bullying.

“Voices Raised, Lives Changed” can mean many things to many people. We live these words every day through our singing voices, speaking voices, signing voices, and our non-voice actions. To the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, ‘Voices Raised, Lives Changed” means fostering increased recognition, understanding, and acceptance of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community. But the fostering doesn’t stop with the GLBT community.

This season, CGMC is presenting a concert on March 22 and 23, “Until There’s A Cure…”, remembering the effects of HIV/AIDS in our community and the world in general, while renewing our hope for a cure of this non-discriminatory disease. We are featuring songs both inspired by, and insightful of, the history, losses, and turning points of this pandemic. CGMC will raise voices to focus hearts and minds on a future free of HIV/AIDS.

CGMC will raise our voices and hopefully change lives by commemorating the impact music and the arts have had on community. Our final concert of the season will focus on the African American community of the King-Lincoln District.

“Motown in Our Town,” presented by PNC Arts Alive, will celebrate the great music from the Motor City that has had such an influence on the lives of so many. We will perform great songs that are eternal in the minds of people no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, or faith. Following our Sunday matinee, CGMC will explore the impact the music of Motown has had in shaping the Lincoln Theatre, the King-Lincoln District, and the many communities and individuals in Central Ohio with our first panel discussion.

CGMC is best known for our spectacular concert productions, but those are just part of our work to raise voices and change lives. CGMC’s sacred ensemble, Illuminati – one of only a few sacred specific ensembles within the gay chorus network in the US – joins different local religious congregations monthly by singing as part of their Sunday services. Illuminati’s work by bridging the GLBT and spiritual communities demonstrates that everyone has a place in spiritual families.

“Voices Raised, Lives Changed” are great words by which to live. Get involved. Many times it means leaving your comfort zone and doing something that may feel awkward. But in the long run it means a better quality of life for you and all those around you.

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