Miami, Florida

What would you do – if you only knew – that you are beautiful?

That ambiguous and unresolved question lingers in the air and a listener’s mind as Through a Glass, Darkly fades into silence. It is a question that substance abusers confront in “the silence of beading sweat” when they have exhausted indulgence and options.

The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus commissioned Through a Glass, Darkly from composer Michael Shaieb, and presented it for the first time at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis, March 29, 2008, where it was filmed for broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television and turned into a DVD. Its subject is methamphetamine addiction and the effects it has on meth users and everyone they know.

One hundred TCGMC members, led by Dr. Stan Hill, reprised a fully-staged version of the 47-minute rock opera in two performances, Wed., July 16, at the Symphony Ballroom of Miami’s Hilton Hotel. The three character leads were acted and sung dramatically by tenors Paul Brekke, Justin Scharr, and Bryan Fisher. Enthused audience members were drawn from 5,000 delegates to GALA Choruses Festival 2008.

Meth is highly addictive and tolerance to it develops quickly. Its most prominent effects include depression and physical decay. Its use among some gay populations on the North American coasts reaches 13%, but it is not confined to gays. In Minnesota, 69% of the state’s 87 counties report that child protection cases have increased due to meth abuse. The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force reports that 90% of the state’s financial crimes, including identity theft, are connected to meth or crack abuse. In 2004, meth treatment accounted for almost 20% of all admissions to Twin Cities hospitals. The Minnesota County Attorneys Association maintains an informational website on the subject.

TCGMC’s chief aim in creating and disseminating Through a Glass, Darkly is to grant people permission to talk about addiction. According to a rumor circulating in the Festival hallways, the work will be presented by choruses in Washington, D. C., San Diego, and San Francisco. All DVD copies of the TCGMC production were sold out within hours of Wednesday’s performances.

The concert halls of the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts were silent Wednesday afternoon and evening as delegates took an afternoon break to gather at the Miami Convention Center for a 25th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of GALA Choruses. Buses then transported everyone to an evening of picnic and play at Miami’s Jungle Island.


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