STORIES AND SONGS OF CHICAGO, Lyric Opera's Chicago Voices: Community Created Performances, came to the stage of the Harris Theater on Sunday, September 10. Capping months of collaboration and preparation, the three groups selected for this outreach project presented their creations to an exhuberant audience. Kuumba Lynx's "We Get Free" opened the event with the story of urban artists who must cope with the sudden absence of a key performer. The young performers combine discipline and resourcefulness to keep their show and political activism on track.
YOLO BOOMERS mellow the tone
Following Kuumba Lynx's passionate performance, YOLO Boomers shifted the vibe from outrage to reflection in "Off Our Rockers." The group of older adults interwove personal tales about finding community as they adapt to changing lives: A couple closes a business after 25 years, lonely hearts endure "Senior Speed-dating," a woman reveals a devastating cancer diagnosis, another decides to write creatively for the first time. The audience at the Harris may have skewed younger but reaction to the YOLO Boomers' humor and pathos rippled audibly throughout the house. Their message: you're never too old for a new chapter.
Blu Rhythm Collective tightens the focus
The third offering of the program, "Out of the Blu," was created by Blu Rhythm Collective, a group formed by Tanji Harper to give young people the skills to make smart decisions in a challenging environment. "Out of the Blu" took an inward look at the effects of street violence through intimate scenes and sharp dance numbers. Beneath a towering set of L tracks, Blu Rhythm Collective's agile performers led the audience from tragedy to renewal.