Resonance artist, Christine Johnson, on Pride, the power of music, and finding allies through art.

Christine Johnson, Soprano

Christine Johnson, Soprano

The fight for equality looms large in my experience as an LGBTQ person...
— Christine Johnson

I met my partner of 12 years in Saint Louis, and she and I enjoyed many Pride events there and in Portland.  In all that time, I never encountered a concert such as this - my amazing colleagues singing an entire program about the experiences of LGBTQ people!  It was such an exciting idea for me that I knew I had to be a part of it somehow.  After Resonance’s last concert ‘Souls’, I approached Kathy and told her so.  I would have been happy just to be an usher at the concert, but she asked me to sing, even knowing that my partner is pregnant and due two days after this concert.  I feel so grateful to be able to celebrate Pride in this way and it is a unique experience I will always treasure.  I am so thrilled to give my energy to Resonance, especially this season’s exploration of social justice issues.  This is important and powerful work that we musicians can do, especially in classical music.  Resonance is leading the way.

This concert’s theme brought to mind a piece I performed with the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus a number of years ago - Melissa Dunphy’s What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?  The simple text is powerful because of its plain English - yet it speaks to so many things that “make America a great nation” - service, sacrifice, freedom, equality.  The music is so effective because it is matter of fact - until someone asks, “Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?” 

His answer distills everything, brings it into sharp focus - the basses anchor the sopranos singing a major third above: “What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?” That moment reminds me that we have allies everywhere, and it feels good - including one WW2 veteran, a “loyal, hard-working American….who did not raise four sons with the idea that our gay son would be left out”. 

The fight for equality looms large in my experience as an LGBTQ person and I’m so glad I can sing this piece again.

BODIES performs one performance only on June 24th at 4PM at Cerimon House in NE Portland. Tickets are on sale now, HERE.