Eastern Iowa LBGT chorus perform Saturday


The Quire, a local choral group, began 16 years ago with 14 members; it has since increased to more than 40, and it aims to continue employing music to bring an eclectic group of people together.

While the group is known as eastern Iowa’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual chorus, manager Audra King said, singers are welcome to join regardless of sexual orientation.

“We provide for our community a social outlet that is not an angry protest or a confrontation,” co-director Marlys Boote said.

The Quire will perform composer Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna and other works at 7 p.m. Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church, 310 N. Johnson St.. Admission is free.

Lux Aeterna, a sacred work for mixed ensemble and orchestra, will make up the first half of the concert. Boote said the piece is replete with lush harmonies and, unlike some new music, is accessible to common people.

“I think that Lauridsen has a particular gift among contemporary composers,” she said, noting that the piece has emotional power and rich sonorities.

Though the ensemble selected the work for its aesthetic beauty, it also functions as a requiem for one of its singers. John Karn, a member of the Quire for the past few years, died suddenly from complications related to a heart attack in December.

“He was a really important personality in the Cedar Rapids gay community and was very involved with the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center,” Boote said. “It was quite a shock to lose him.”

King said she believed Lux Aeterna was an appropriate way to remember a friend and community member.

“We definitely wanted to do something to honor his memory,” she said.

She said she hoped the performance would also provide the audience members a chance to reflect on their own loved ones who have passed away.

The austere and solemn Lux Aeterna will constitute the first half of the program, and then, the ensemble will switch gears for the second half. Showcasing its versatility, the Quire will perform such songs as “Georgia on my Mind,” “When I Fall in Love,” and a medley of Beatles tunes, including the playful “When I’m Sixty-Four.”

“We were looking for sentimental oldies,” Boote said.

Mark Pries, the senior pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, said he believes the Quire plays an important role in bringing together disparate groups from the community.

“My joy is that the arts consistently cross boundaries all the time,” he said. “I’m just so excited and so pleased that we can host something like this just so people can meet and experience the music.”

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