There is a party going down at TPAC on June 1 as Nashville in Harmony (NiH) wraps up their exciting season, Takin’ it to the Streets, with an anticipated sold-out show.
For those who are not familiar, NiH is Tennessee’s first musical arts organization specifically created for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their straight allies.
As NiH wraps up their ninth season, any member will tell you that they are more than just a group of singers—they are a family.
Founding member and former Board President Rodger Murray has watched NiH grow. “NiH means a great deal to me,” Murray shared. “Since I am one of the founding members, I find great satisfaction in seeing the growth from 18 singers in 2004 to over 100 now. We have experienced growing pains over the years. One can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, but the feeling of family that exists within NiH is worth the many hours of rehearsals.”
Sarah Cait Rayman, who recently joined Nashville in Harmony, credits the NiH family as being a part of her ongoing coming out process. “I first heard about the group when I was actively coming out about a year ago,” she said. “I have been working on coming out for two years now and this is just a part of that process—learning to live again.”
“I remember the very first practice we had and I was so nervous being new,” Rayman said. “Everybody was so awesome and made me feel comfortable right away. Being the new Alto I had a big sister Linda Ray who just loved on me and reached out to make me feel welcome. I was so overwhelmed that first practice. Everybody was so good and the whole experience was humbling. I was a small part of a big movement to use music to build bridges and reach out to a community.”
NiH is building bridges across Tennessee as the group takes their message ‘to the streets’ for numerous performances throughout May and June.
As the first stop on what is being dubbed as the Takin’ it to the Streets Tour, Nashville in Harmony has a planned performance for Upper Cumberland Pride on Saturday May 4. Then, on May 5, Nashville in Harmony joins the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus’ Beautiful Friendships show at University of Tennessee’s Cox Auditorium.
Part of the NiH mission is to “use music to build community and create social change,” so the tour wouldn’t be complete without a few ROAK’s sprinkled in along the way. ROAK, or Random Acts of Kindness, are the little stops and impromptu performances that NiH makes each season.
While in Knoxville, NiH will sing the national anthem (and a few other songs) to kick off an event in Knoxville’s Market Square and they also plan to perform at a local shelter.
But it is the June 1 show at TPAC that NiH Marketing Chair Julie Reliford refers to as the icing on the cake at the end of the season. “The show ties together everything that we have worked on throughout the season. It’s a tapestry of music that reflects our message.”
From the familiar to the French, the songs of the season’s closing show are sure to inspire tears, goosebumps and laughter. From Cookeville to Knoxville and back to Nashville, everyone has the chance to hear Nashville in Harmony and everyone should.
NiH will perform Takin’ it to the Streets on June 1 at James K. Polk Theater. Tickets for the show are $20.