• Intersections: Considering Matthew Shepard

    produced in association with Diversionary Theatre

    In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was lured from a Laramie gay bar, where he was beaten, robbed, and left to die on the outskirts of town. Over a decade after Shepard was murdered, President Obama passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill expanded prior Federal hate crimes legislation to include protections for violent acts based on actual or perceived gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.


    In spite of this legislation, there has been a dramatic increase in hate speech and acts of violence against the Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and LGBTQIA2S+ communities in the United States and around the world. People who have intersectional identities are multiply marginalized (people who are queer and Black, for example) and are particularly at risk for discrimination, harassment, and violence in virtually every conceivable setting, system, and institution in the world. In the first ten months of this year, over 32 trans or gender non-conforming persons have been violently killed, the vast majority of whom are trans women of color, and a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQIA2S+ bills have been introduced.

    About this collaboration

    Over the last three months, students from the USD, SDSU, and MiraCosta College choirs have been preparing for tonight's performance, yet the planning for this collaboration began many months ago. Late last spring, Emilie Amrein and Farah Dinga began discussing how to responsibly consider the realities of the violence described above with music, movement, and narrative, and how to create space for QTPOC to write themselves back into their histories. Soon thereafter, Amrein and Dinga invited local QTPOC artists to lead a larger conversation about what they felt was most important to share with this audience. Tonight, these artists, and many others, join the choirs in presenting a portion of Craig Hella Johnson’s passion-oratorio “Considering Matthew Shepard” along side “Intersections,” a suite of interpolated monologues devised by Farah Dinga, Frankie Alicea Ford, Kevane La’Marr Coleman, Mariana Green, and Wilfred Paloma.


    Throughout the rehearsal process, the choirs have taken Johnson’s invitation to “consider” seriously. In preparing for this collaborative performance, students have been interrogating the histories described above and their relationships to them. They have been analyzing the conditions, processes, and underlying ideologies that predetermine these violent crimes. They have been reflecting on cycles of violence that often begin with the stories we tell.

    For your consideration

    In weaving together the stories of the artists on stage with the story of Matthew Shepard, this community of artists is writing a new story, full of complexity, a vast range of emotions and experiences, and unanswered questions. We invite you to consider some of these questions tonight. Why are some communities continuously harmed? How do we begin to repair after harm has occurred? How can we stay accountable to one another for the long haul? What role do stories play in these processes? What role do we play in narratives like the ones we’re telling tonight? How can we ethically listen and bear witness to the stories that are so often suppressed? Does bearing witness require more than listening? How can stories provide a space for radical imagination and lead to action for transformational justice?


    Please be advised that this production contains adult themes, descriptions of violence, strong language, and discussions of racism, homophobia and transphobia.

  • Concert Program

    Please hold applause until the end of the concert.

  • Prologue

  • Part I

  • Part II

  • Part III

  • Part IV

  • Part V

  • Personnel

    Musical Leadership

    Emilie Amrein - Conductor, USD Choral Scholars; Arian Khaefi - Conductor, SDSU Chamber Choir; Arlie Langager - Conductor, MiraCosta College Chamber Choir; Andy Konopak - Rehearsal Assistant, MiraCosta College Chamber Choir; Sarah Amos - Rehearsal Pianist, SDSU Chamber Choir; Nancy Cochran - Rehearsal Pianist, MiraCosta Chamber Choir; Lisa Pagan - Rehearsal Pianist, USD Choral Scholars

    Theatrical Leadership

    Farah Dinga - Lead Writer and Devising; Wilfred Paloma - Movement Coordinator and Devising; Frankie Alicea Ford - Devising; Kevane La’Marr Coleman - Devising; Mariana Green - Devising; Steven Leffue - Sound Designer


    Frankie Alicea Ford; Uriah Brown; Kevane La’Marr Coleman; Farah Dinga; Mariana Green; Tasha Hokuao Koontz; Wilfred Paloma; Danielle Perrault


    Jesus Cervantes - Violin; Constantino Felicetta - Clarinet; Nicky Manlove - Piano; Ryan Nestor - Percussion; Nikko Nobleza - Guitars; Tamara Paige - Orchestral Contractor and Bass; Rachel Park - Cello; Geovanny Ramirez - Viola

    USD Choral Scholars

    Donovan Alcones; Ashley Biolsi; Angelique Brown; Nathan Burns; Joseph Ceballos; Kylie Choi; Joee Cortina; Francesca Dessert; Jack Hemphill; Kai Hopkinson; Osasogie Iyoha; Rose Johnson; Xavier Kouame; Jackson Lambros; Julia McAtee; John Mitchell; Grace Moore; Tatum Mosley; Allysa Mulrain; Carly O'Rear; Katelyn Osborne; R.J. Parry; Matt Pearson; Katy Rempel; Angelica Sanabria; Kyle Smeenge; Roderick Utz

    SDSU Chamber Choir

    Megan Brown; Joey Cruz; Charlize Esquillo; Stephen Evangelista; Mario Fong; Katherine Forbes; David Gagliardo; Lizzie Gaitan; Michelle Garay; Alec Irwin; Elizabeth King; Chloe O'Mara; Gonzalo Ochoa; Allen Pace; Sophia Perez; Jackson Shaffer; Abie Songco; Nathan Torres; Georgia Tuke; Andrew Vega

    MiraCosta College Chamber Choir

    Julian Centeno; Tyler Dean; Keely Dunne; Jess Frank; Kalena Guiffredo; Asuncion Blancas; Sabrya Mosely; Heather Salanga; Dante Saliba; Dwayne Sandrock; Tim Zimmerman

    Support Staff

    Nicole Houghton - Operations Director and Stage Manager; Aann Alkhori - House Manager

    Special Thanks

    Mark Gonzales, Mike Heu, and Charles DeFreitas - Hoover High School; Russ Sperling - SDUSD VAPA; Matt Morrow, Jenny Case, and Skyler Sullivan - Diversionary Theatre; Robert Catalano - Greene Music; Kyle Johnson - Definite Media; Andy Clark - Harvard University; Mike Leonard - Voices 21C; Tesfa Wondemagegnehu - St Olaf College; Nicky Manlove - University of Arizona; Kian Drees - USD student percussionist