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Diverse Harmony

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Diverse Harmony is an American youth choir based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 2002 it is the first Gay-Straight Alliance Youth chorus in the United States.[1][2][3][4] The chorus’ stated mission is "to create a safe, affirming environment where everyone is accepted for who they are."[5] In addition to singing members, the chorus has an extensive support network of volunteers, subscribers and donors; they are also a non-profit organization.[6][7][8] Diverse Harmony is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), and was the first youth chorus to participate in a GALA Choruses Festival.[4][3] The chorus appeared in the independent film "Why We Sing" which has been screened at LGBT film festivals and on PBS stations across the United States.[4][9][10]

In 2006 they became the only youth choir to ever perform at the Gay Games.[11]


File:Diverse Harmony marching-2.jpg

Washington state has over 300 gay–straight alliance clubs that are "trying to end bullying and harassment of LGBT students, and promoting tolerance and acceptance for everyone in an educational atmosphere"[11] LGBT middle and high school students - roughly covering the teenaged years - have been shown to feel safer just knowing a GSA was at their school; the clubs provide support, opportunities to discuss political and social issues as well as socializing opportunities.[11] The brainchild of the original musical director Rhonda Juliano, Diverse Harmony grew out of the opportunities that many clubs offered to socialize by showcasing talents and performing for one another.[11]

Some of the kids who were Gay needed a safe place to go and they liked to express themselves through the arts. We decided that a Gay-Straight Alliance youth chorus would be the perfect place.[11]

The chorus has 23 regulars voicing their music. Four or five of them, Juliano estimated, have been with the group since its inception.[11] The group accepts young people ages 13-22 regardless of sexual orientation.[12]


File:Diverse Harmony Awake poster.jpg

The group started in 2002 after music teacher Rhonda Juliano decided to form the choir to coincide with her own coming out and blending families with her partner.[1][13] "During the past 20 years, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students began confiding in Rhonda. She provided the only space where they felt completely safe and free to be themselves - in her classes."[13] Diverse Harmony became a place of "safe haven, friendship and affirmation" for both Juliano and the students.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.

On 1 March 2004, KOMO-TV's Brook Stanford became Diverse Harmony's Companis "mission worker" serving as the community outreach director.[13] In 2004 Diverse Harmony opened Seattle's pride week at Saint Mark Episcopal Cathedral with "Let There Be Pride" and shared the bill with the The Seattle Women's Chorus.[8] Diverse Harmony is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), and was the first youth chorus to participate in a GALA Choruses Festival.[4][3] The chorus has performed twice at the International music festival put on by the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses; in 2004 at the Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec and again in 2008 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.[4][3][14] Through these associations they became one of four choirs predominantly featured in the independent film "Why We Sing" which has been screened at LGBT film festivals and on 300 PBS stations across the United States.[4][9][15][16]

They have annual pride concerts starting in 2004; in 2005 the theme was “The Courage to Love” and they shared the stage with the Seattle Men's Chorus and the Seattle Women’s Chorus.[17] In 2006 the theme was "Believe" and they presented at Seattle's First Baptist Church.[11] In 2006 they also performed at the Interfaith Pride Service celebrating Washington State's new Anti-Discrimination Law and the victory of Andersen v. King County.[18]

Diverse Harmony also performed at Gay Games VII in Chicago, the only youth choir ever to perform at the Gay Games as well as concerts at Chicago Cultural Center and Pilgrim Congregational Church.[11][19] On 2 June 2007 their annual concert featured Alexandra Billings.[20] On 19 October 2006 Diverse Harmony was the beneficiary of "One Night Only", a "gala cabaret evening" and the last performances at Thumpers, a popular performance venue that was closing after twenty-one years.[21][22][23]

The 30 May 2008 spring concert was "Awake!" utilizing spirituality themes and exploring the human condition; "a musical collage that journeys from a dark past, through a better today, and into a hopeful tomorrow".[24][25] This was also reflected in their artistic poster created by chorus members incorporating, amongst other iconic symbols, a rainbow likely in reference to the rainbow flag.[24]


  • "Our World" (2004)[26]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Harmanci, Reyhan (24 August 2006). A Note On Change:'Why We Sing!' Documentary explores choral music's appeal and how it fosters community. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  2. GALA Choruses 25th Anniversary Timeline. GALA Choruses (2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Dillon, Lawrence B. (2007). Synopsis: Why We Sing. Golden Gate Performing Arts. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 LGBT youth choir to benefit from Thumper's fundraiser One Night Only,'a gala evening of cabaret to raise funds for Diverse Harmony'. Seattle Gay News (2006). Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  5. Hastings, David Owen (2008). About Us: Our vision is a world in which differences are celebrated!. Diverse Harmony. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  6. Worley, Christopher (2006). About Diverse Harmony. MySpace. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  7. Schmader, David (13 October 2006). The End of Thumper’s. The Stranger. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hastings, David Owen (2008). Support Diverse Harmony. Diverse Harmony. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dillon, Lawrence B. (2007). Home: Why We Sing. Golden Gate Performing Arts. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  10. Bruscas, Angelo (11 October 2006). Thumpers To Close. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Frishberg, Manny (12 May 2006). Gay-Straight Alliances bring out the best in area schools: Local organizations providing services to the student-led groups. Seattle Gay News. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  12. 2007 Pride Listings. Seattle Gay News (29 June 2007). Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Darling, Craig R. J. (8 February 2004). David & Jonathan: Promised Love. Seattle First Babtist. Retrieved on 2008-07-29. (PDF version)
  14. Hastings, David Owen (2008). News and Events. Diverse Harmony. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  15. Gay Liberation is Guided by Voices. Bay Area Reporter (25 August 2006). Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  16. Van Iquity, Sister Dana (22 March 2007). Center For Arts Does Grand Re-Opening. San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  17. McKinnon, Rick (10 June 2005). LGBT Pride in the Northwest. Seattle Gay News. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  18. McKinnon, Rick (16 June 2006). 2006 Pacific Northwest LGBT Pride. Seattle Gay News. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  19. Abarbanel, Jonathan (12 July 2006). Cultural Potpourri for GG VII. Windy City Times. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  20. McKinnon, Rick (25 May 2007). Diverse Harmony in Concert. Seattle Gay News. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  21. Nyman, Steve; Nathan Benedict (13 October 2006). Last call at Thumper's - Restaurant and bar became a Seattle LGBT institution. Seattle Gay News. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  22. Morin, Richard (18 October 2006]). And This Week, Again, Many Performances Are Free. Seattle Weekly. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  23. Murakami, Kery (16 October 2006). After 21 years, Thumper's announces the final last call. Seattle Post_Intelligencier. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Northwest News: Diverse Harmony Presents "Awake!". Seattle Gay News (30 May 2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  25. W., Bill (15 May 2008). Diverse Harmony LGBT youth chorus free concert. Seattle Gay Scene. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
  26. Doyle, JD; Queer Music Heritage (QMH), 26 June 2006, Script. "The called themselves Diverse Harmony and this song, though not released commercially, was performed by them in concerts and on television. It's called Our World."

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