Reaching Youth Through Music
When HAMILTON company member Christopher Henry Young learned that the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus had developed an initiative to reach vulnerable youth through music, he was eager to learn more. The Chorus’ initiative, RHYTHM (Reaching Youth Through Music) brings SFGMC into elementary, middle, and high schools across the Bay Area to share a message of love, inclusivity, and strength.
MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER
After meeting with Associate Artistic Director Mitch Galli and learning more about RHYTHM, Christopher agreed to participate. He joined the Chorus at a middle school in Oakland, performing “Rise Up” with the Chorus and telling his own story about acceptance and, ultimately, love.
For the students, most of whom come from under-served and diverse population groups, seeing Christopher was an experience of a lifetime.
“When we announced that an actor from HAMILTON was with us, the place went wild,” stated Galli. “For most of these kids, the idea of getting to see HAMILTON is a stretch so when Christopher came to them, and shared his own personal story, it was profound. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.”
“I had the opportunity to experience the SFGMC Rhythm program last week!” stated Christopher. “What an incredibly emotional morning. Getting to tell my story and hear the stories of not only the talented humans in the chorus but also the young students was inspiring. Rhythm is an opportunity for people to feel seen. Visibility is important and the power of feeling seen can change hearts and minds. Rhythm does that! I watched adults tell their story and saw as the audience was moved!”
Chorus member Andy said “there’s a feeling that, here in the Bay Area, we are in a bubble, but in truth, there are people here that are struggling. And by coming directly to schools, we can, hopefully, show kids that there are adults in your life who can support you, that there are peers who will accept you and love you and, who after this event, will say ‘I support you’”.
To learn more about RHYTHM: https://www.sfgmc.org/rhythm