Founded in the fall of 2004 by the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Nashville In Harmony has gone on to fill a hole left by the aborted tries of other Nashvillians in the recent past: a gay community chorus. While the guiding hands behind NIH could have stayed comfortably tethered to being a clone of other such choruses, the vision for the group was more encompassing than simple imitation. Instead they chose another path that would set them apart.
The chorus’s stated mission is to bring together the Nashville GLBT community as well as the greater Metropolitan Nashville community. Comprised of 38 men and women from all areas of the greater Nashville community, some have extensive backgrounds in music while others are equipped with only basic vocal skills and an unquenchable drive to express them.
“It is very important to us that people know that we are GLBT and friends,” said current NIH director Don Schlosser. “Not only do we include men and women instead of just having a gay men’s chorus. We welcome friends and supporters of our community to join us. We encourage anyone who may be interested in participating to audition no matter their previous experience.”
Equally important to Nashville In Harmony’s vision is their goal of finding their unique voice within a music-centric community such as Nashville where there are a large variety of options available for different types of music to explore so as not to compete with other choral groups such as Vanderbilt Community Chorus and the Chamber Singers.
“As a GLTB chorus we can sing things that no one else in the city can,” said Schlosser. “I really try to direct them to find that voice.” Schlosser listed songs about unity, diversity and appreciation of our world as the types of music that will help the chorus achieve that vision. Conversely, he noted that though they are based out of a local church, the group tries to stay away from strongly religious themes because they are a community chorus.
In time for the holidays, Nashville In Harmony will be presenting a three date concert series entitled “And All The Town Be Merry: A Choral Concert for Christmastime.” The series will kick off at the Frist Center for the Arts downtown on Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m. and will then move on to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art located at 1200 Forest Park Drive on Sunday December 11 also at 2 p.m. The series will conclude on Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the group’s home at the First Unitarian Universalist Church located at 1808 Woodmont Blvd.
In addition to a diverse group of performers attendees to each show can expect a highly inclusive mixture of music from traditional Christmas songs to a few pop songs and choral arrangements from around the world. Nashville In Harmony pianist Bob House will accompany the chorus. For more information on Nashville In Harmony please visit their web space at www.nashvilleinharmony.org or send an e-mail to [email protected].