Paul Caldwell makes his debut as the artistic director for Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA) on Saturday, March 2, for the group's annual spring concert, which promises to be one of its most emotional perfomances in years.
The two-show concert, "A Flood of Hope," will be held at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. Shows are at 5 and 8 p.m., and both are a special Hurricane Sandy Relief benefits for the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City. The center was destroyed by last fall's hurricane that devastated the East Coast.
"This event is a way for our chorus to provide some much-needed support, to give something back to a center in need," said Gerry Johnson, 54, who lives in Evanston and has been a WCPA singer for 25 years. "The fact that center affects LGBT youth is the reason we're doing this."
Concert songs will be about wind, sea and rain. "They are very moving, emotional songs, and also entertaining," Johnson said. "The music is quite diverse, which is attributed to Paul's vision for what this show is intended to be."
Johnson said WCPA has held similar concerts in the past that have supported other needy causes.
"I think this concert will help bond us more as a community," Johnson said. "This [concert] will rank among the most well received concerts that we've presented, one that will touch the hearts of many.
"I can only imagine what those people in New York experienced when their lives were, basically, turned upside down."
Johnson compared the hardships endured by those associated with the Ali Forney Center to what it might be like if a natural disaster devastated the Center on Halsted in Lakeview.
The concert will include Joan Szymko's "It Takes a Village"an adaptation of the West African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child"which the combined Aria and the Windy City Gay Chorus will perform. Also scheduled is "Prayer of the Children," by Kurt Bestor, which the Windy City Gay Chorus will sing.
"We're very excited about what Paul brings to the organization, the vision he has for WCPA," Johnson said.