The Rise Tour
Appearing in over twenty cities to benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation, and spreading an anti-bullying message through music dedicated to Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother.
Together with my songwriting partner, Jeff Cubeta, I wrote a choral piece for mens chorus and female soloist that will travel to cities across the country with a strong anti-bullying message. The piece is called “Rise” and is based on Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.”
The idea for the piece was born when I discovered that my son Eli, now eleven, bore an uncanny resemblance to Matt Shepard (more so when he was six-years-old, which is when the resemblance was first pointed out to me). I thought hard about how Matt’s mother Judy turned an horrific tragedy, the likes of which I cannot even fathom, into something beautiful in the form of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Through this inspired text and music, performed by Gay Mens’ Choruses through 2017, I want to memorialize Matthew and honor the relentless work that his parents continue to do nationally for the LGBT community. The tour is also a way to strengthen the anti-bullying stance in schools, churches, communities and local politics.
Audiences who hear this piece will be asked to donate $5-$10 (certainly more if they like) to the Matthew Shepard Foundation using an easy text program called Mobile App. The foundation has many outreach programs that educate people across the country and overseas about bullying, discrimination and hate crimes, seeking to "replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance."
To donate, simply send a text to number 41444 and put in the message box MSF, then a space, then the amount you want to donate. Here’s an example: "MSF 10" means you are donating ten dollars. The app will respond with an easy link to donate money in a single step. It is safe and privacy protected.
To find a Rise Tour City near you, check out our Tour Calendar.