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Cut & Paste: Black Tulip Chorale Has Room For Many Voices

Black Tulip Chorale distinguishes itself from other choirs by actively welcoming members who present any gender expression. This is in contrast to ensembles that bill themselves as men’s or women’s choirs. It’s also unusual for an artform that tends to hold fast to established gender roles.

Robert Stumpf leads Black Tulip Chorale in a rehearsal for its Nov. 16 performance.  [10/31/19]
Credit Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio
Robert Stumpf leads Black Tulip Chorale in a rehearsal for its Nov. 16 performance.

“I’ve gone to a couple of choral festivals where the criteria literally lists, if you’re female you must sing soprano or alto. You are not allowed to sing tenor,” said Robert Stumpf, Black Tulip Chorale’s conductor. “Slamming the door in someone’s face out of some old, ancient, preconceived notion isn’t going to do anybody any good. It’s just not how we operate.”

This episode of “Cut & Paste” includes an in-studio interview with Stumpf, a behind-the-scenes visit to a rehearsal and reflections from three of the group’s members. 

Black Tulip Chorale’s Nov. 16 concert (“Our Song: 500 years of Lgbtqia2+”) celebrates the group’s inclusive nature. Composers represented on the program range from Tchaikovksy to Duke Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn to Melissa Etheridge. The St. Louis Wind Symphony and Grammy Award winner Christine Brewer will join Black Tulip Chorale for select numbers. 

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Look for new Cut & Paste podcasts every month on our website or your favorite podcast app. You can find all previous podcasts here.

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Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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