SAN DIEGO – Feb. 29, 2016 – San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF), one of the largest LGBT foundations in the United States, and the San Diego Women’s Chorus will present “UPRISING: Songs of Change” on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre. The concert will feature the 85-voice San Diego Women’s Chorus (SDWC) and welcome special guest, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Janis Ian as the event’s VIP performer. This concert marks the third year of collaboration between the two nonprofits to raise funds for SDHDF’s Lesbian Health Initiative and SDWC.
This year marks 50 years since Ian recorded her first album, “Janis Ian,” which featured the song “Society’s Child” and got her first Grammy nomination for “Best Folk Album.” It also marks 40 years since the 1976 Grammys, when “At Seventeen” and “Between the Lines” were up for five Grammys and won two, for “Best Female Vocalist” and “Best Engineered Album,” respectively. In all Janis Ian has been nominated for ten Grammys in eight different categories over a 50-year period. Her most recent Grammy nomination was this year in the “Best Spoken Word” category for the self-funded audiobook “Patience & Sarah.” This classic piece of historical fiction about two gay women “with a happy ending,” first self-published in 1969, was funded by Ian and her wife, and co-narrated by actress Jean Smart. Additionally, The Pearl Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization named after Ian’s mother Pearl has donated more than $909,000 to date in scholarships for returning students that have been out of school for more than five years. Moreover, Ian’s recent performance at the Appel Room at the Lincoln Center in New York received an outstanding review from the New York Times describing her performance as “poised,” “charming” and still as “raw” as ever.
Music and lyrics are about life experiences and, as Ian’s life has been full and colorful, so have her songs, as evidenced by her multiple awards, Grammy and Dove Award nominations and commendations. Her songs have been recorded by singers as diverse as Cher, John Mellencamp, Celine Dion, Hugh Masakela, Nana Mouskouri, Charlie Daniels and Roberta Flack. Always one to follow her heart and her beliefs, Ian was one of the first celebrities to come out publicly. She and her partner of 27 years were formally married in Canada in 2003, the only place where gay marriage was legal at the time. Her roller coaster ride has taken her to Nashville, her home since 1988, where she continues to expand as an artist, most recently narrating Olympic medalist Ginny Gilder’s autobiography and writing “Godzilla haiku” for her self-curated Facebook page.
“San Diego Human Dignity Foundation is proud to collaborate for the third year in a row with the San Diego Women’s Chorus to raise money for the support of our Lesbian Health Initiative,” says John Brown, executive director, SDHDF. “This year’s concert with Janis Ian at the Balboa promises to be an inspirational and entertaining time for all.” Past benefit concerts have featured VIP performers the Indigo Girls and Frenchie Davis, performing alongside SDWC members.
This year, the fundraising concert will honor the influence and importance of music in social movements and life experiences in a celebration of triumph over adversity. With their voices and passion, the women of the San Diego Women’s Chorus will sing stories of empowerment and hope birthed around the world, from Germany to New York, Liberia to Louisiana, and Mexico to Massachusetts.
“The music for ‘UPRISING’ comes from our human need to wrestle with cultural and life-changing events through deep artistic experiences,” said Kathleen Hansen, artistic director, San Diego Women’s Chorus. “The songs we’ll be singing are part of, or grew out of, protest and peace movements from throughout history and from around the globe – the Civil Rights era in America, the AIDS crisis in South Africa, the Holocaust, civil wars, the plight of refugees. Music has the power to connect people through times of turmoil and uncertainty, it can unite us emotionally and empower us socially and politically.”
“The San Diego Women’s Chorus is all about the power of music and the power of women,” said Heather Robert, board president, SDWC. “Our music is our activism and this concert is a tribute to the activists of the past and an appeal to the activist impulse of the present. Our hope is that, after the audience listens to these songs about women and men from history who fought for freedom, equality, and dignity, they will be moved to rise up and push back against the injustices that remain today.”
A portion of the proceeds from the concert will directly benefit healthcare organizations who serve low-income lesbians and bisexuals throughout San Diego County. There are several barriers that lesbians face when it comes to their health and healthcare. According to a 2005 LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) women’s needs assessment performed by the San Diego LGBT Community Center, barriers to care and services include: having no or inadequate health insurance, having low income, living in areas where there is a shortage of culturally competent health and social service providers, and cultural beliefs about healthcare and healthcare providers that reduce utilization of available services. The report also goes on to say, “Ensuring that vulnerable populations have access to culturally competent health and social services is crucial for eliminating disparities and preventing disease. Research suggests that lesbian women often do not access clinical services and, therefore, are at increased risk of not detecting diseases that can be more easily treated in early stages, e.g. breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
“UPRISING: Songs of Change” Benefit Concert
DATE: Sunday, May 22, 2016
TIME: 7 p.m.
TICKETS: On sale Monday, Feb. 29
via http://www.ticketmaster.com, http://www.sandiegotheatres.org, or by calling the Balboa Theatre directly at 619-570-1100. Regular tickets are $15-$85. VIP tickets, which include premium seating and admission to the exclusive invite-only after party at the Hard Rock Café, are available via www.sdhdf.org for $250.
NOTE: For accessibility accommodations, please contact the Balboa Theatre via 619-615-4000.
For more information about the concert, VIP tickets, event sponsorship and the Lesbian Health Initiative, please visit www.sdhdf.org.
For more information about the San Diego Women’s Chorus, please visit. www.sdwc.org.
More information about Janis Ian can be found here.
PHOTOS OF BOTH JANIS IAN AND THE SAN DIEGO WOMEN’S CHORUS can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/1S7j8s3
About the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation
The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF), which will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2016, is the sole community foundation in the San Diego region dedicated to the benefit of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. SDHDF funds programs and projects that promote equal treatment, tolerance, wellness, well-being, and above all else, human dignity. We work to strengthen LGBT organizations and leadership. The organization nurtures philanthropic giving to support LGBT people and address important issues such as aging, arts and culture, health and wellness, youth and families, and civil rights. For more information, visit www.sdhdf.org. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.
About the San Diego Women’s Chorus
The San Diego Women’s Chorus (SDWC) is a lesbian-identified, feminist sisterhood of musicians that welcomes members and volunteers from the vastly diverse LGBTQ and straight-ally communities. Founded in 1987 by community activist Cynthia Lawrence-Wallace, SDWC has grown from a group of 14 lesbians gathered around a piano in a private home to a thriving community with over 125 members who believe in the power of music and the power of women. For nearly 30 years, SDWC has provided a safe space that encourages women’s creativity, celebrates diversity, and inspires social action. For more information, visit www.sdwc.org or connect with them on Facebook.