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Take a deeper dive into specific pieces of music and composers with Classical KC and the UMKC Conservatory while learning how they connect to events today.

A Kansas City art song competition centers queer voices

Winners of the No Divide Art Song Competition will be featured this weekend.
Winners of the No Divide Art Song Competition will be featured this weekend.

Winners of the No Divide Art Song Competition will be featured as part of No Divide KC's 'Come As You Are' concert.

Author Aaryn Ricucci-Hillis a composer currently pursuing their masters at the UMKC Conservatory.

Promoting queer voices in new music is an essential part of creating a diverse contemporary concert space. For a long time now, I have wanted to find a meaningful and impactful way to uplift and showcase works from queer composers and performers. In partnership with No Divide KC and their "Come As You Are" concert, I organized the No Divide Art Song Competition in partnership with the organization's president and co-founder, Stacy Busch.

We put out a call for scores from LGBTQ+ composers that revolve around the overarching theme of the concert: vulnerability. Vulnerability can be interpreted in many ways, and each piece reflects the variety of experiences and emotions that come along with showing vulnerability.

Over thirty works were submitted, and four will be performed: Robert McIntyre's A Sea Spray of Ash, Emily Boyajian's My name, his name, Allison McIntosh's Selene, and Peter Dayton's If They Delight.

In describing the purpose of the "Come As You Are" concert, No Divide KC has a solid answer:

“We believe that concert music has contributed greatly to performing arts but that it has also, at times, stifled creativity and vulnerability, maintained privilege and power, created oppressive expectations of formality, and caused separation between creators, performers, and audiences…. 'Come As You Are' aims to open up these barriers through reimagined musical experiences and storytelling.”

In addition to showcasing the winners of the No Divide Art Song Competition, the concert will feature partnerships with newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Mid America Freedom Band, and KC VITAs Chamber Choir.

Event Details

What: No Divide KC: "Come As You Are"
Where: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
When: March 19, 7 p.m.

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