Anti-LGBTQ extremism is spiking. In the face of it, the Quorus is singing
Missouri became one of the leading states in anti-LGBTQ legislation this past session. The Quorus, mid-Missouri's only LGBTQ choral ensemble, is singing in spite of it.
The Quorus is a non auditioned group for LGBTQ people and allies. KBIA reporter Ellie Lin spoke to Audra Sergel, a local musician and the founder and director of the Quorus, about what it means to be a visible queer music ensemble at this political moment.
Here is an excerpt from their conversation.
You play a lot of roles. You're a musician, a band member, and an educator. But the one I'm most interested in learning about today is one as the director and founder of the Quorus, can you tell me a little bit about your role there?
I plan our seasons. And that's always based on what the members want. And the Quorus members told me what they want to do for the season. And so we've been doing lots of different things. We've collaborated with high schools and with colleges, we've done things at True/False, Treeline was one of our next things that they said they wanted to, you know, try to do. And then you know, recording an album.
Can you tell me a little bit about what your role means to you?
I wasn't expecting the Quorus to be as profoundly life changing as it has been for me. So for me when the Quorus started, and I started hanging out with people, musically, in this capacity of building community and being together for a purpose, not just the music, but for this other purpose of like spreading awareness and invisibility to how LGBTQ people need resources and spaces and things like that. The people I met, the community that was created became so powerful. To me, I consider them you know, we're a little queer family.
Nationally, there's kind of been an increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and an increase in anti-LGBTQ violence. In Missouri, there has been an influx of, you know, anti-trans legislation, has this impacted the Quorus? Has this impacted the space that you guys are able to create?
It has mobilized us, and in a way of saying, you know, we're needed now more than ever. To put on the rainbow shirts, and to go out and say, "We're here." Everything that we put out is a message of unification of standing up for people whose voices haven't been heard, historically, I think it's unified us in a way.
It's certainly been heartbreaking on a personal level. There are times I have to do kind of like a media cleanse or a little bit of not engaging in what's going on politically, just so I can stay focused with what's really right in front of me. Which is to do the work and to show up to the people that are in our community, and try and make a safe space in today. Here's what I can do. I can't do all these other things, but I can do this.
Pride is a time to celebrate identity. Can I ask what you or the Quorus is celebrating this year?
I mean, I think we're celebrating togetherness. The theme for the concert was "More Us More We." The idea of just more of us and more togetherness. But for me personally, I am celebrating that we we completed this EP, that you know, we are Missouri's only completely focused for LGBTQ people musical ensembles, and now we're going to be able to put that music out. We're out in the airwaves. I'll be celebrating that, I think, at pride and of course at our CD release party. I'm excited about all those things.
The Quorus' EP, Change Is Coming will be released on October 6.