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Concert event spotlights Trans Day of Visibility
by Vern Hester
2018-04-04

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On March 31, The Center on Halsted, in partnership with The Art Music Project ( AMP ) and Lurie Children's Hospital, presented "Rattle the Walls," a concert celebrating The Trans Day of Visibility. The event—which featured a wide range of musical styles performed or composed by trans, LGBTQ individuals and allies—marked the eighth year that Center on Halsted has marked the day with proceeds from the event benefiting Trans programing at the center.

Vanessa Sheridan, director of transgender programming at the Center, said, "Last year, we had an art exhibit which was a big success; this year, we wanted to do something musical. There are two days a year when we acknowledge the trans community; the first is on March 31, which is a celebration. Then there is The Trans Day of Remembrance in November, which is another kind of event."

Forrest Ransburg, founder and director of "Rattle the Walls" and the AMP Ensemble, said, "This concert is about honoring, validating and celebrating the transgender community."

The concert got off to a lively start with a performance by The Emily Kuhn Ensemble, which fused jazz and Spanish folk music and featured original compositions by the group. Trans musician Devin Clara Fanslow performed twice—in the first half of the program as a solo artist using musical loops, and again with her ensemble, Sneaky Archer. Fanslow's music focused on her trans process and growth.

Pianist John Urban presented one of Paul Bowles' Six Preludes before he was joined by vocalist Jessie Lyons for a performance of "Emily's Aria," from Ned Rorem's opera Our Town. Isabelle Rozendaal joined Ransburg for Georg Philipp Telemann's Sonata in G Major, while Sheridan sang a feisty "Keep On Rising Up," which she said was inspired by the last presidential election. The concert closed with spoken/musical performances with Lyons joining Ransburg for Alex Temple's "Willingly" and Kate Soper's "Only the Words Themselves."

"Rattle the Walls" is a musical activism series that embraces inclusive programming to raise funds to benefit causes and organization in social justice.


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