‘Y’all Means All!’ Pride Chorus Celebrates Country Music and the Spirit of Unity

‘Y’all Means All!’ Pride Chorus Celebrates Country Music and the Spirit of Unity

ON MARCH 29, the same day Beyoncé dropped her celebrated Cowboy Carter album and sent Nashville’s most prickish pundits into a tizzy, Texas icon Willie Nelson and young buck Orville Peck released their duet, “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other,” further scrambling the brains of close-minded country fans with the catchy refrain: “Say, what do you think all them saddles and boots was about?”

As multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens pointed out in her essay for The Guardian, tradition and genre are two different things, and in recent years, the spectrum of artists lending their voices to the tradition of country music has expanded to include the aforementioned Queen Bey, rapper Lil’ Nas X, and Brandi Carlile.

On Saturday, June 1, Pride Chorus Houston offers their own loving take on the tradition with “Y’all Means All,” a concert of country tunes arranged for the chorus, including “Cowboys Are Frequently ...” (arranged by Pride Chorus Artistic Director David York) and songs by country stars who have become iconic figures in the LGBTQ+ community, including Shania Twain, Selena, and Dolly Parton. The “pride-filled hoedown” takes place one night only at Unity of Houston.

“We really want to highlight the diversity and welcoming nature of our Texas community,” says Pride Chorus Board President Matt Leslie. “What better way to do that than through the diversity of the country, western, folks, and Tejano musical traditions of Texas?”

And on July 10, Pride Chorus Houston travels to Minneapolis to perform selections from “Y’all Means All” at this year’s GALA Festival, a gathering of nearly 200 LGBTQ+ choruses and over 14,000 queer choral singers from around the world that is held every four years. “We haven’t been to GALA Festival in eight years, 2020 was canceled,” says Leslie, “so we really thought it important we represent Houston with our performance.”

Pride Chorus Houston was originally founded as the Montrose Singers in November of 1979. The Montrose Singers became the Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston (GMCH) and later expanded by adding the Bayou City Women’s Chorus (BCWC). Now known as Pride Chorus Houston, the chorus is celebrating 45 years as Houston’s LGBTQ+ community chorus.

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