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Portland Lesbian Choir highlights homelessness in national concert series

GALA Choruses is hosting the online event throughout the week, featuring LGBTQ+ performers around the country. Each group is focused on current or historical events.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Lesbian Choir (PLC) is joining a national concert series highlighting important issues, including homelessness.

GALA Choruses is hosting the online event throughout the week, featuring LGBTQ+ performers around the country. Each group is focused on current events or historical movements.

PLC is one of the groups being featured with a special hourlong concert on Friday, July 9 at 5 p.m. PDT.

"To be advocates for others in our community," explained Mary McCarty, artistic director for PLC. "We thought if we sing about it, we might connect people with emotions they might not get otherwise."

The special concert called "A Roof and A Bed" features a number of specially commissioned pieces, with lyrics directly lifted from the experience of homeless women in the Pacific Northwest.

"I'm hungry, just keep walking, stomach hurts, just keep walking..." recited McCarty.

PLC began planning this concert in 2018. The concert was supposed to happen in 2020, but COVID-19 delayed it until this June, when PLC released a virtual version online.

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"Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community doesn't mean that's all you care about," McCarty said. "[But] we see that the housing crisis in our community disproportionately impacts folks that are LGBTQ+, especially youth."

The video features various organizations that help people going through homelessness, such as Transition Project and Rose Haven. Real people share their experiences on the streets.

PLC hopes this collaboration inspires the community to become more involved to support these relief organizations and the arts.

Its next in-person concert is tentatively scheduled for February 2022.

"I'm just so pleased with our choir to continue to be a part of this community and work toward the goal of bringing this music to life, even in these very challenging circumstances," McCarty said.

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