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Posted by Philip on 13 June 2016, 3:26 pm in , , , , , , ,

My lyrics get used for Homosexual Law Reform anniversary and the tragedy of Orlando

Today I learnt that composer Gareth Farr has used one of my poems, 'During these Days', in his commission for Wellington's Glamaphones choir. He also used a poem from Brent Coutts, "Naming Ourselves".

Gareth has even chosen to name his piece "During these Days" — how chuffed am I? I'm told the choir has been rehearsing it and it is sounding wonderful.

The commission will be played during a concert this Saturday at 7pm in Wellington at St Andrews on the Terrace. They will be singing the "During these Days" at two concerts this weekend, then will perform it at a service at St Andrews on Sunday 3rd July, and then at Pataka Art + Museum Porirua the afternoon of the 3d July.

A further performance will be staged at Parliament on Wed 6th July 6pm as part of the 30th offical commemoration of the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform (HLR) Bill.

The Concert will be filmed this Saturday so I will post it once edited.

There will also be an article in the Dominion Post this week about the concert, Gareth's commission and the HLR 30th and what it means to the choir.

Asked if I wanted anything included in the programme, I wrote this:

"In light of the recent tragic events in Orlando, Florida, marking the 30th anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill takes on even more significant meaningfulness. It serves to remind us that the course of civil rights and social change is not a direct one. Rather we may more usefully think of our progress as a society - be it local or global - as a path of loops, rather like a telephone cord. Loops that lift us up and pull us down; loops that see us travelling forwards and then backwards. In these cycles we feel the triumph of progression when we are in times of forward change, innovation and evolution, but then the despair when, on a "backslide", we find ourselves in a place that reminds us of where we started or, sometimes (like Orlando), it may even feel things are worse. At these times, I find it comforting to remember that towards the end of every loop, as we come out of backward motion, we must always move forward beyond the last loop, in order to create the next. The HLR Bill represents one of those progressions that led us into another series of loops - a small step forward in the larger scale of things, but one we shall never lose."

In the mid-90s, after graduating with a social work diploma, I wrote a body of work expressing my disillusionment with society, the world, humanity in general. 'During These Days' is about that time - when I found it difficult to have conversations because all my opinions had changed - and the process of healing I went through. And it speaks to what I've written above - the constantly illusive sense that, just as things seem to be changing for the better, something happens that brings progress into question.