A piece of music based on words spoken in It Gets Better videos has made its début this week.
Testimony, by Stephen Schwartz, was performed in Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for the first time this week and is now available to watch online.
Written and performed by the 275 members, the piece was set to music by Stephen Schwartz and begins with an unflinching look at the desperation felt by many young people coming to terms with their sexuality but features the positive message that the experiences awaiting adults mean it gets ‘more than better’.
Multiple Grammy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the musicals Godspell, Pippin and Wicked, said: “I liked using the words of the people who contributed to the ‘It Gets Better Project’.
“So ‘Testimony’ is quite authentic in terms of what’s being expressed and then I just set it musically.”
Artistic Director and Conductor of San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Dr. Tim Seelig said: “In four decades of conducting and commissioning new choral works, ‘Testimony’ is one of the most profound works of choral art I have ever experienced.
“We can never adequately express our gratitude to Stephen Schwartz for what he has given to us and to the world. If one person is moved and ultimately changed by these words, all of our work will have been worth it.”
Versions will be available for sale on iTunes audio and video stores and on the chorus website. A limited edition DVD is available for sale at www.sfgmc.org and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.
The It Gets Better Project was initiated by Dan Savage, a writer and columnist, who acted as an agony uncle to depressed gay young people through his column ‘Savage Love’.
His original video, featured him and his partner Terry recount their experiences of being bullied and urge youngsters that life does get better. It has now been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
At the time, Mr Savage said: “When a gay teenager commits suicide, it’s because he can’t picture a life for himself that’s filled with joy and family and pleasure and is worth sticking around for.
“So I felt it was really important that, as gay adults, we show them that our lives are good and happy and healthy and that there’s a life worth sticking around for after high school.”