As part of the 40th annual Pride Bands Alliance Conference, Lakeside Pride will host "Sweet Home Chicago" on Sunday, May 29, at 7 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.
Chicago's Lakeside Pride is welcoming Pride Bands Alliance members from its family of 38 affiliate bands spread across the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada to return to the city where the organization started 40 years ago.
This year's event will include:
World-premiere compositions "Griffin," by composer Christen Taylor Holmes and "Love Words," by composer Evan Williams (both BIPOC);
Celebrity hosts and RuPaul's Drag Race alumni Denali Foxx and Angeria Paris VanMicheals, who will emcee and appear in a special performance and an exclusive VIP meet-and-greet;
Two ensembles led by four conductors (Kyle Rhoades, Manic Maxxie, Jon Noworyta and Jadine Louie); and
A 40th-anniversary celebration showcasing diversity across the LGBTQ spectrum.
In addition to the world premieres, works by Kimberly Archer, Steven Reineke, Tania León, Brent Michael Davids, Julie Giroux, Randall Standridge, Tawnie Olson, Lawren Brianna Ware, Yukiko Nishimura and Adolphus Hailstork will also be performed.
In a press release, Williams said, "The cycle is called Love Words, Mad Wordsand that title comes from a line from the poem 'Romance,' by Claude McKay. "Love words, mad words, dream words, sweet senseless words; melodious like notes of mating birds.
"Claude McKay was a Harlem Renaissance poet who spent his last years in Chicago, who was also bisexual, and who I feel like I have a lot of things in common with. Like him, I'm also bisexual. It's something I've been embracing over the last four or so years. And that's another reason why I got drawn to McKay, and also that he was very politically left like I am. So for a lot of reasons, I thought, 'Wow, I should get to know the works of this person.'"
Taylor Holmes added, "I was definitely very excited about just the opportunity in general, to be able to attend this conference, and to write this piece. I know it's a queer organization, and like, "Oh! This is really cool!" But I guess, now that I'm actually thinking about it, I'd say that it [means] a lot, just because I definitelyand along with many other queer peoplehave struggled with internalized homophobia, and, just, I guess …external homophobia? … So, kind of being recognized not only as a musician, but a queer musician, is definitely really important.
"It's important that people are able to see what I can dothat queer people are able to see what I can do."
Tickets are $25-$30 each; visit www.SweetHomeChicago2022.org .