Contact: David Bobay, Director of Marketing, david@heartlandsings.org, (260) 436-8080

MATTHEW SHEPARD REMEMBERED IN SONG
Community Collaborators Present Midwest Premiere Production 
on October 7th, Commemorating 20th Anniversary 
of Matthew Shepard’s Death

Fort Wayne, Ind., September 14, 2018 – Heartland Sings, Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne, The Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Pride, and Purdue University Fort Wayne School of Music are proud to present the Midwest premiere of October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, a musical drama, on Sunday, October 7th, 2018, at 3:00PM, Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

Under the artistic direction of Maestro Robert Nance, a large community collaboration of artists and activists, along with award-winning author, Lesléa Newman, and composer, Curtis Heard, this presentation commemorates the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death and seeks to inspire and educate a new generation. Matthew’s story underscores the ramifications of intolerance, a salient issue in our society today, and lifts up the need for compassion, justice, and love of humanity.

Tickets are $10 for students, $30 general in advance, $35 at the door, and $50 VIP (includes Artists Talkback Panel after the performance). Tickets can be purchased at HeartlandSings.org/Tickets or by calling (260) 436-8080.

LOCAL SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS WITH AUTHOR LESLÉA NEWMAN

In conjunction with this production, a series of talks by author Lesléa Newman will be given on topics ranging from LGBT identity, same-sex families, social activism, religious identity, and more.

Thursday, Oct. 4 – Purdue University Fort Wayne (Honors Center), 5:00PM; free, open to the public

Friday, Oct. 5 – Plymouth Congregational Church, 6:00PM; He Continues to Make a Difference: The Story of Matthew Shepard; free, open to the public

Saturday, Oct. 6 – Plymouth Congregational Church, 10:00AM; Heather’s Mommies Get Married: Homophobia, Censorship and Family Values; free, open to the public

Sunday, Oct. 7 – Plymouth Congregational Church, Artists Talkback Panel following 3:00PM performance of October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard; VIP ticket available at HeartlandSings.org/Tickets or call (260) 436-8080.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

On the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student attending the University of Wyoming, was lured from a bar by two young men, taken to the outskirts of Laramie, beaten with a pistol, tied to a buck rail fence, and left to die. The next day, eighteen hours after the attack, he was discovered and taken to a hospital. Matthew never regained consciousness and died five days later, on October 12, with his family by his side.

Five days later, author, Lesléa Newman (Heather Has Two Mommies), arrived on campus to give the keynote speech for the University of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week. October Mourning is Ms. Newman’s deeply personal response to the events of that tragic day and its brutal aftermath. This work of poetic imagination explores the impact of the vicious crime through fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence to which Matthew was tied, the deer that kept watch beside him, and even Matthew himself.

Having read her book, composer Curtis Heard began setting her poems to music. In 2014, he premiered his musical version of October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, in Long Beach, California. One of Heartland Sings’ artistic advisors and frequent soloist, bass-baritone Carver Cossey, performed in the first production in Long Beach and subsequently introduced the music and the composer to Maestro Robert Nance.

PRESS CONFERENCE

There will be a press conference held on Friday, October 5th, 2018, at 10:00AM, at Heartland Sings, 2402 Lake Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46805. Author Lesléa Newman, composer Curtis Heard, Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne Executive Director, Jaki Schreirer, Plymouth Congregational Church pastors, Rev. Dr. Timothy C. Murphy and Rev. Ruth E. Phillips, Heartland Sings President and Artistic Director, Maestro Robert Nance, and Heartland Sings Principal Vocal Artists will all be in attendance and available for interview.

For interviews with Heartland Sings Artistic Director, Maestro Robert Nance, please contact him at maestro@heartlandsings.org or, for more information, call (260) 436-8080.

Heartland Sings, Inc. is a nonprofit, vocal music production company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Always striving for excellence and innovation, we serve Northeast Indiana and beyond with entertaining music productions, cultural programming, and quality education in the vocal arts.

Plymouth Congregational Church is an inclusive Christian Community welcoming you as you are, supporting you in your own journey with God, and challenging you to live out the teachings of Jesus individually, collectively, globally.

The Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne works to perpetuate and sustain Jewish life through programs and services to the Jewish community and takes whatever steps necessary to ensure a thriving Jewish community in the future. Since 1921, the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne has served as the central address of the Jewish community for Northeastern Indiana acting as the central social planning, budgeting, cultural, and human services agency.

Purdue University Fort Wayne prepares students for careers as professional musicians and serves the university, the Greater Fort Wayne area, and the communities of northeastern Indiana as a musical center and cultural resource.

Fort Wayne Pride is dedicated to bringing LGBT events to the area throughout the year. We provide resources and information to the community and opportunities for learning. We are committed to bringing safe, fun events to the LGBT community and our straight allies.

# # #

Maestro Robert Nance | President & Founding Artistic Director
2402 Lake Avenue | Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
www.HeartlandSings.org | (260) 436-8080













About Heartland Sings

Heartland Sings, Inc. is a nonprofit vocal music production company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Founded in 1997 by Maestro Robert Nance, Heartland Sings creates a variety of vocal music productions and educational outreach programs.

About Heartland Sings

Heartland Sings, Inc. is a nonprofit vocal music production company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Founded in 1997 by Maestro Robert Nance, Heartland Sings creates a variety of vocal music productions and educational outreach programs.

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Heartland Sings, Inc.
2402 Lake Ave • Fort Wayne • IN • 46805-5406
(260) 436-8080

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Heartland Sings, Inc.
1516 Leesburg Road • Fort Wayne • IN • 46808-2535
(260) 436-8080

Directions to Heartland Sings 

Send an email to the Webmaster