On Friday, Jan. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, the Out Loud Chorus performed “The Enchanted Escape” concert at Towsley Auditorium on the campus of Washtenaw Community College. The event was sponsored by The Out-Space Club of Washtenaw Community College.
Out Loud Chorus is a non-auditioned, mixed chorus for the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender community that welcomes “all who consider themselves allies of the LGBT community.”
Out Loud provides continuing musical education and performance experience as well as a social outlet for community members who are interested in choral music and its production. Out Loud is “fun and flexible, open to many levels of ability and committed to embodying the diversity of our community.” The chorus “seeks to educate the general public about choral music and, through performances, to reduce bigotry and discrimination against our community.”
The group was founded in 1995.
Advertisements for “The Enchanted Escape” noted “When you’re tired of dealing with life on life’s terms, there is another universe to dive into. Far from the mundane, Out Loud … will enchant you with music from otherworldly delights. Step into the expanse of our fantastical, magical, supernatural journey. We promise to transport you to another world where music sung by the universe’s greatest LGBTQ chorus (that would be OUT LOUD) is the language of the soul.”
World-renowned countertenor David Daniels narrated the concert and welcomed audience members to the “enchanted forest” with a promise to “bewitch and beguile” us with an impressive array of music.
The chorus opened the concert “Double Trouble” and proceeded to perform songs in Latin (“O Magnum Mysterium”), Arabic (“Sih’r Khalaq”), and jibberish (a musical arrangement of the Lewis Carroll poem “Jabberwocky”). Bellydancers from Unveiled accompanied the chorus during “Sih’r Khaleq” and delighted the audience.
The chorus also invited the audience to identify the many references to science fiction and fantasy stories included in “Welcome Home (The Nebulas Song),” solo arrangement performed by alto Jennifer Skwarski. These references included the novels “Speech Sounds” by Octavia Butler, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle and “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, and the Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke film “2011: A Space Odyssey,” and many others.
The chorus ended the first set with a beautiful (and beautifully choreographed) rendition of “The Wizard of Oz Medley,” which featured several chorus members and musicians. A few audience members also sang along with these familiar tunes.
The second set included an arrangement of the popular 1960s pop songs “Love Potion #9” and “Yellow Submarine,” and ended on a high note with an arrangement of four-time Grammy award winner Olivia Newton-John’s popular song “Xanadu” from the 1980s musical romance bearing the same name.
A post-concert reception featured delectable cakes and sweet treats, and offered audience members a chance to meet the performers and cast.
The Out Loud Chorus is directed by Scott Walters. “The Enchanted Escape” acccompanists included Joshua Marzan on piano, Edie Herrold on bass and Tamara Perkuhun on percussion.