Stonewall kicks off Pride Month
by Linda Romano for Vocal Area Network
Posted June 1, 2023

Temple GrandéGay Pride is alive and well in the choral scene in New York City!

As the political climate becomes more and more heated and controversial, particularly when it comes to LGBTQIA+ issues, The Stonewall Chorale, the nation's first LGBTQIA+ chorus, is returning to Holy Apostles (Ninth Avenue at 28th Street in Chelsea) on Thursday, June 8 at 7:30 PM to kick off Pride Month with a bang. "Stonewall Rocks with Pride -- a Drag Queen Story Hour" with special guest drag gueen Temple Grandé tells the story of gay pride in tandem with the history of the Chorale and will feature pop and rock music of the 60s to the present.

This year, the event will have a very special guest: Melissa Tempel, the Waukesha, WI primary school teacher who was put on leave and may be fired for suggesting the kids sing "Rainbowland" by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton on their spring concert.

In a statement, Tempel said removing her from the classroom had a "harmful" and "traumatic" impact on the students at Heyer Elementary School.

"My students' parents, many of whom speak Spanish, did not receive any information about my absence or when I would return, even when they asked for it directly," Tempel wrote. "As recently as last week some of them didn't know that I was placed on administrative leave. She has been a teacher for 23 years and adds, "I have been consistently held up as a model educator," she wrote. "I am an award-winning, National Board Certified Teacher who was rated 'distinguished educator' by my administrators for three years in a row. Last year, I was named Outstanding Educator by Wisconsin Badgers Athletics and WEAC. I have never had disciplinary action taken against me.

"I remain committed to the work I have done throughout my life and career, both inside and outside the classroom, as an activist, advocate, and ally. I believe we need to have conversations in our communities about how to make sure our schools are inclusive spaces where our students feel safe and can focus on learning."

Melissa will receive a special honorary membership certificate in the Chorale in recognition of her courageous action to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in her students. "Rainbowland" will be sung, and the message is "wouldn't it be grand if everyone could be exactly who they are?" Other songs include "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Blackbird," "Dancing Queen," "I Will Survive," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Running up that Hill," "Hide and Seek," "As It Was" and more!

Seating for the concert is limited, so advance tickets are strongly encouraged. Visit www.stonewallchorale.org. General admission $35; students and seniors $25.

Linda Romano handles public relations for The Stonewall Chorale.