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In Community:
A Concert Celebrating LGBTQ+ Stories

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Sunday, April 28th at 3:00pm

On Sunday, April 28th at 3pm Milton Community Concerts will present an entertaining and diverse concert at First Parish of Milton, 535 Canton Avenue. This benefit concert, “In Community: A Concert Celebrating LGBTQ+ Stories”, will support the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts. The program will feature musical theater favorites, jazz standards, concert songs, arias, and cabaret songs, primarily composed by LGBTQ+ composers. Featured singers Michael Alexander Aoun, Nick Fahrenkrug, Morgan Mastroangelo, and Alexis Peart will join dancers Holly Stone and Michael Winward, and will be assisted by baritone Joel Clemens and pianist Timothy Steele.

 

This concert will share stories of both LGBTQ+ individuals and the community that are captivating, joyful, and heartbreaking. Composers include Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, and Benjamin Britten. A song by Leonard Bernstein was recently featured on the soundtrack of the film “Maestro”. A German cabaret song from 1920 called “Das Lila Lied” is considered one of the first gay anthems ever written. Some of the musicals featured are "Fun Home", "A Man of No Importance", "James and the Giant Peach", and "Falsettos".

 

Tickets for this concert are Pay As You Can, available at the door only. A suggested donation is $20 general, $10 senior, and free for 18 and under. Fifty-percent of the ticket revenue, as well as additional donations, will go to support the Transgender Emergency Fund (transemergencyfund.org), which provides assistance for low-income and homeless transgender people living in Massachusetts. This concert is made possible by generous grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Milton Cultural Council.

Artist Headshots and Bios

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Lebanese-American bass-baritone and producer Michael Alexander Aoun (they/them) is deeply dedicated to advocacy and social justice. Their gender expression/identity and neurodivergence (ADHD) have taught them to listen to those who are different and to stay engaged as an activist. Through their art, they seek to elevate and facilitate difficult conversations around xenophobia and systemic oppression.

Michael most recently performed the spoken roles of Zuniga and Garcia in La tragédie de Carmen, director Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen, with the Boston Opera Collaborative. In January, they were in the chorus for the production of Bellini’s Norma with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Michael also sings regularly with pianist Timothy Steele at First Parish Milton as a Hunsaker Soloist.

 

Before moving to the Boston area, Michael performed across New York State and abroad in Lebanon. In May 2023, they were the bass soloist for Bach’s Cantata, BWV 4 as part of the Downtown Music at Grace concert series in White Plain, NY, and completed their master’s at Bard College Conservatory of Music. Spanning in genre from traditional Arabic song to American new music, their graduate recital How We Move Forward invited the audience to imagine a way through difficulty and showcased the world premiere of an art song about raising a nonbinary child. In March 2023, Michael performed the role of Strephon in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and the Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts Program at The Fisher Center in the Hudson Valley. At the beginning of last year, Michael traveled to their father's homeland of Lebanon where they co-produced and performed a recital titled An Hour of Song with their Lebanese-American, pianist collaborator Elias Dagher. Michael sang as bass soloist with the Albany Symphony in December of 2022 for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Part VI in Troy, NY.


Visit MichaelBassBaritone.com to learn more.

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Awarded by the American Prize for his guerilla-style art film "Dichterliebe: Within and Without”, Baritone Nick Fahrenkrug has been sought after for his sensitive sound in concert and expressive story-telling on stage. A frequent performer of new music, Nick enjoys exploring the capacities of the human voice, often with Nightingale Vocal Ensemble, and is fascinated by the healing power of sound. Since moving to Boston, he has appeared with Nightingale Vocal Ensemble, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Boston Opera Collaborative, and the Boston Pops. Learn more about his recent and future engagements at nickfahrenkrug.com.

Morgan Mastrangelo sings bel canto, baroque, and music theatre repertoire with “sheer sweetness”. Morgan most recently joined Boston Lyric Opera for two productions, covering Hades in Eurydice, as well as covering Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, they performed the role as part of BLO’s “Opera 101” outreach production throughout winter and spring 2024. Next, they sing Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus at New England Conservatory and cover the principal role of Edemondo in Teatro Nuovo’s modern premiere of Carolina Uccelli’s Anna di Resburgo. 2023 saw Morgan’s role and company debuts with Wichita Grand Opera (Count Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia), The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (Frederic, The Pirates of Penzance) and City Lyric Opera (Gastone, La Traviata). At home in the music of the Baroque, they sing Bach Cantatas weekly with Emmanuel Music in Boston, this season singing the solos in BWV 5, 78, and 93. Other concert credits include Israel in Egypt (New York Philharmonic/Apollo’s Fire), the tenor solos in Handels' Messiah (Hudson Valley Philharmonic), Rossini's Petit Messe Solenelle (Opera Saratoga), Verdi's Requiem (Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church), and Orff's Carmina Burana — their solo debut at Carnegie Hall — with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. They are the recipient of the Dean's Scholarship at New England Conservatory for 2023-2025 and are pursuing a Master of Music with Bradley Williams. 

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Boston-based mezzo-soprano Alexis Peart has been praised for her "plush yet robust voice" and "incredible clarity" in roles ranging from baroque operas to world premiere performances. She is a 2023 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition New England Region Encouragement Award Winner, Boston District Winner, and a 2023/2024 Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera. Featured performances include Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Big Stone (Eurydice), and Dorothée (cover) (L'Amant Anonyme) with Boston Lyric Opera, world premiere performances as Ada Lovelace in Elena Ruehr's The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage with Guerilla Opera, and frequent concert and oratorio performances with ensembles including the Rochester Oratorio Society, Assabet Valley Chorale, Castle of Our Skins, Seaglass Theater Company, and Jubilate Chorale. Alexis is a two-time alumna of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio (2020/2021) and a 2023 Young Artist alumna of Chautauqua Opera. For more information and upcoming performances, visit alexispeart.com

Timothy Steele is an active vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and conductor, and has taught for twenty-nine years on the opera faculty at New England Conservatory.  He has conducted for outreach tours with the Boston Lyric Opera and is a former music director for Opera Providence.  He has served as assistant conductor/pianist for over 190 productions with twenty-five opera companies, including Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, Central City Opera, and Opera Maine.  He assisted with the Pulitzer Prize winning opera MADAME WHITE SNAKE for productions in Boston and Taiwan and the OUROBOROS TRILOGY in 2016, and for three years collaborated with WaterFire-Providence on a unique and popular series of opera evenings. For the last eight years he has been music director at First Parish of Milton-UU and producer of Milton Community Concerts. In Boston he has performed with Emmanuel Music, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, among others.

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Hailed as a “smooth, thrilling Baritone” and “strong dramatic actor” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Baritone Joel Clemens is quicklyn becoming known across the East Coast for his exemplary musicianship and dynamic characterization across a broad range of challenging repertoire.


Joel recently completed a residency with Chautauqua Institution, where he served as a teaching artist and gave touring performances of Zarzuela-inspired children’s opera. He returns to Boston for the 2023-2024 season to be featured in West End Lyric’s inaugural Joys of Music concert, and Boston Opera Collaborative’s “Whispers: Echoes from the Halls,” an immersive opera experience. A frequent performer with Boston Lyric Opera, he will appear in the chorus of The Anonymous Lover, and rejoin the chorus of Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra in Norma. In April, Joel will be joining Boston Conservatory at Berklee as a guest artist to sing Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other notable operatic roles include Conte Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Sid (Albert Herring), Publio (La Clemenza di Tito), Valentin (Faust), and Guglielmo (Così fan Tutte).


Equally comfortable in 21st-century repertoire, Joel will reprise the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s For a Look or a Touch with West End Lyric this Spring. He recently premiered three roles in White Snake Projects’ second annual Let’s Celebrate series, which draws on cultural traditions with shows that reflect their diverse community of artists. Joel also created the role of Charles Ives in Robert Carl’s Harmony with libretto by acclaimed American writer Russel Banks, produced by Seagle Festival. Other notable contemporary roles include Hannah Younger (As One), Hawkins Fuller (Fellow Travelers), and Joseph De Rocher (Dead Man Walking).


Joel is a proud alumnus of Seagle Festival’s Emerging Artist Program, which he attended for two summers. He is a recent graduate of Boston Conservatory’s prestigious Master of Music in Opera Performance program, where he was the recipient of the Miles A. Fish III Scholarship. He holds a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University, where he was awarded the Showalter Scholar Award.

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Raised in rural Vermont, Holly Stone is an interdisciplinary alchemist creating dance and theater in the Greater Boston area. Currently teaching at Tufts and Boston University, their movement backgrounds in ballet, contemporary, and ballroom dance allow them to move seamlessly between genres and to challenge expectations of gender and partnership. Their recent gender-expansive partnering collaboration–INSIDER BALLROOM–with Michael Winward has been presented at the Providence Fringe Festival.  Holly’s original story ballet THE QUEEN OF NORI has been presented at Starlight Stage, Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Center for the Arts, & Paliku Theatre in Hawaii. Holly was also the Resident Choreographer for Wanderlust Theatre, and has created dance films for festivals internationally. Recent theater credits include CATS for Quincy Musical Theatre, A NEW BRAIN for FSU Theatre, CANDIDE for FSU Opera, and an immersive horror production with Boston Opera Collaborative. They have a B.S. in Bioengineering and Neuroscience from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dance from Florida State University, where their master’s thesis work focused on synthesizing modes of thinking as engineer and artist. As a performer, Holly has danced for Kathy Hassinger, Marcus Schulkind, Jo-Me Dance Theater, Lowell House Opera, Tim Glenn, and with many, many others from their time in the American Ballroom Dance Industry.  

 

J Michael Winward (he/they) is an independent dance artist whose work takes place at the intersection of movement and memoir, memory and care. Michael is the director of Steps in Time®: an organization that brings social partner dance programs to assisted living & mind care communities. He is a lead coordinator of Dancing Queerly: a platform for LGBTQ+ dance & performance artist support. Michael has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Bennington College, and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College.

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Hailed as “powerful” and “ready for primetime,” Black American soprano Nina Evelyn’s

mission is to diversify the classical music canon by promoting and performing the works

of Black composers. Upcoming performances include singing the role of Helena in

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Huntington Theater and a concert with

Heritage Chorale featuring the music of Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. This

summer, Nina will join Aspen Opera Theater as a studio artist where she will cover

Gretel in Hansel und Gretel. In 2022, Nina triumphed in her mainstage debut with

Boston Conservatory at Berklee as the title role in Floyd’s Susannah, a production that

was named a “standout performance of 2022 in Boston” by WBUR radio. Previous

engagements include performances as Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di

Figaro with Boston Conservatory, Monisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha with the Opera

Theatre of St. Louis, and Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen with Opera North. Nina is a recent

graduate of Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she received her Master of Music in

Opera Performance.

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