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Portland Gay Men's Chorus a cappella group debuts solo performance with virtual concert

On Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus presents Breaking the Silence, a solo show featuring their a cappella group Cascade.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland acapella group is sharing their talents in their first solo show this weekend. They're called Cascade and usually perform break-out songs alongside the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus.

The pandemic has the unaccompanied group of singers busting out on their own for their debut virtual concert, Breaking the Silence.

When the pandemic hit, Cascade struggled. A music style that relies on listening to the voices around you in order to create perfect harmonies is nearly impossible over Zoom. Despite the many challenges, they made it work. The group of eight was able to rehearse in-person while still being safely apart.

“We're in person, we're outdoors, we've masked, distanced and we found out we couldn't hear each other. So, we started using microphones, we have a mixer, we use headphones,” said Mary McCarty, artistic director of Cascade. “And then we realized, 'Oh we can record in this mode,' and that's how this concert was able to go forward."

The group is taking what they've learned during the pandemic and bringing it to the public. It is their chance to really connect with an audience as their own ensemble. During the virtual concerts on April 10 and 11, members will share personal stories.

“We felt silenced by not being able to sing during the pandemic, and so this felt like a really apropos topic for right now,” McCarty said. “But we also had members who wanted to talk about important things like mental health, like social justice, how the pandemic impacted their lives. So, we thought of breaking the silence also as a way of speaking out on some important topics.”

Reserve your tickets now at live.pdxgmc.org. Breaking the Silence is happening virtually Saturday, April 10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m.

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