Atlanta choruses to celebrate women, nonbinary and transgender people

The Atlanta Women’s Chorus premieres its show "Sugar and Spice" on March 23 in Austell.

Credit: Courtesy of Voices of Note

Credit: Courtesy of Voices of Note

The Atlanta Women’s Chorus premieres its show "Sugar and Spice" on March 23 in Austell.

This story was originally published by ArtsATL.

This spring, Atlanta’s Voices of Note choruses — the Atlanta Women’s Chorus and the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus — will use the power of song to tell stories about the rights of women and to celebrate the lives of queer and transgender individuals.

The Atlanta Women’s Chorus’ “Sugar and Spice” show is a revamping of its “Good Girls Gone Bad” production, one of the chorus’ first performances. It will take place at the Riverside EpiCenter in Austell on March 23 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Although the shows are similar, artistic director Missy Arasi felt it was important to use a different title. “We’ve revamped the show. We dropped a few songs that weren’t speaking to us and added songs that speak more to who we are now,” she said.

The show will explore the universal themes of good versus evil through various musical and cultural references. The first half focuses on the good or “sugar” and the second half transitions into the evil or “spice.”

“The show speaks to the multifaceted nature of people, not just women,” Arasi said. “We give Disney a hard lean in the first half; there might be some princesses [featured]. The first piece is called ‘Barter’ by Rene Clausen. It’s about life having loveliness and it has a hopeful, beautiful, life-is-swell, rose-colored glasses approach, bringing home feelings of how we all want peace. We open the second half with Pink’s ‘Get the Party Started,’ then ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ from “Cabaret,” which is also spicy but from a very different genre.”

The chorus is partnering with, and collecting funds for, the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.

The Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus presents the concert "TRANSformation" at City Springs on April 6.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Voices of Note

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Voices of Note

Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus concert

A group of trans and nonbinary members of the Atlanta Women’s Chorus, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the parent organization, Voices of Note, curated the Gay Men’s Chorus’ upcoming concert, “TRANSformation.” It will take place April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Byers Theatre in Sandy Springs.

“Even though we fall under the LGBTQ+ acronym, [transgender and nonbinary people] don’t often feel like we are connected with others in the community,” said Gabrielle Claiborne, a member of Voices of Note’s board of directors. “Representation matters, and when the community sees themselves at a leadership level [it matters.]”

Claiborne noted that representation of trans stories helps to break down the stigma and normalize non-binary expressions and experiences.

“One particular song in the [show’s] story arch is ‘This is Me’ from “The Greatest Showman.” When I heard this piece for the first time, I broke down and cried because I saw myself in this production. [As someone] perceived differently in a binary culture, it gave me the opportunity to lean in, be represented and own my essence as a trans woman.”

Claiborne added: “The songs will elevate the stories, and stories will elevate and personalize the songs. It allows us to share the challenges and joys of leaning into our most authentic selves. . . . I felt that, as a trans woman, I’m represented.”

The event will also include a trans and nonbinary expo, where attendees can learn about local organizations including PFLAG, SnapCo, 100 Black Trans Men Inc. and the International Association of Trans Bodybuilders.

“I’m bringing a perspective that might be overlooked, and it gives me a sense of purposefulness and meaningfulness,” Claiborne said. “We want to add to the work and make the organization a little better than it was before.”


Voices of Note

Atlanta Women’s Chorus presents “Sugar and Spice.” 2 and 7 p.m. March 23. $20-$50, free for children 12 and under. Riverside EpiCenter, 135 Riverside Parkway, Austell.

Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus performs “TRANSformation.” 7:30 p.m. April 6. $20-$50, free for children 12 and under. Byers Theatre at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs.


Luke Gardner is an Atlanta-based journalist with a history of covering the arts. Luke is passionate about serving local communities and celebrating marginalized identities.

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Credit: ArtsATL

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Credit: ArtsATL


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