MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University’s Smith Fine Arts Series presents a striking lineup of shows this 2022-2023 season, including Considering Matthew Shepard on March 3rd and 11th, 2023. The March 3rd performance supports the WOU choral program.
Considering Matthew Shepard, a Grammy-nominated, three-part fusion oratorio by Craig Hella Johnson, was written as a musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. The piece incorporates many different musical styles, texts, interviews, newspaper articles, and even notes from Matthew’s journal.
In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. A most brutal act of violence, it is known as one of America’s most egregious anti-gay hate crimes. As we approach the 25th anniversary of this tragedy, the Western Oregon University Choirs, along with the Chemeketa Community College Choirs and members of the community in cooperation with the Western Oregon Theatre Department, will present this Oratorio as part of a two-week commemoration of the story and legacy of Matthew Shepard that honors the experiences of all LGBTQIA+ youth.
The program, conducted by Dr. James Reddan, Director of Choral Activities with stage direction by Dr. Michael Phillips, is part of “The Legacy of Matthew Shepard Project” that will include additional performances. This project is made possible with the generous support of the Oregon Cultural Trust.
The Department of Music and Smith Fine Arts Series believe that live arts are essential and have the power to enrich and improve people’s lives. By presenting renowned performances that are diverse, inclusive, and accessible; and through our educational outreach initiatives, we connect the community with performing artists from across the world.
For more information, please visit https://wou.edu/creativearts/the_legacy_of_matthew_shepard/
About Western Oregon University
Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving about 4,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans, or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we succeed.
Brittany Kima, Public Information Officer
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