On June 6, 2015, Flushing Town Hall presented a program featuring artists who identify as LGBTQ to kick off Queens Pride Week and celebrate the strength of the LGBTQ community in the borough. The event, in Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights in the heart of the LGBTQ community in Queens, is sponsored in part by New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm. The program was supported by New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. This concert was also sponsored by SUKHI New York.
“This year we are kicking off LGBT Pride Month in Queens a day early on June 6 with a special cultural event in Diversity Plaza,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “The show includes poets, dancers, singers and musicians. It is a great way to celebrate LGBT pride. My hat goes off to Flushing Town Hall for organizing this event and to the performers and directors who made this possible.”
”We are grateful to Council Member Dromm for his support of this program,” said Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “Flushing Town Hall celebrates diversity in the Arts, and Council Member Dromm also recognizes and champions its importance.”
Participating artists included:
- Gabriella Callender, a singer, songwriter, poet, educator and community organizer whose art, educational work and community activism is inspired by her life experience as an adoptee, lesbian, and female of color. Gabriella has performed all over the United States and abroad. In addition, Gabriella is the Musical Director of the trio performance group, Mahina Movement.
- Paolo Javier, a former Queens Poet Laureate (2010-2014) is the author of the recently published Court of the Dragon, among other works. He is the recipient of grants from the Queens Council on the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. He is a longtime resident of Sunnyside, Queens, where he lives with his family.
- SALGA Dance Team, a 12- 16-member LGBTQ ensemble celebrates South Asian music and dance, with works based on classical Indian dance forms, modern fusion dance, semi-traditional/folk dance, as well as bhangra.
- Juan Valencia, who performs a wide variety of classical piano music from Latin America and the Caribbean Islands. As a composer and arranger, Juan also performs original piano compositions based upon his research of traditions from the Americas. A native of Colombia, South America, Juan started his piano studies at the age of 5. He is the Artistic and Music Director for the vocal ensemble Two Sopranos and One Mezzo as well as Two Tenors and One Baritone. Juan will be bringing a guest vocalist, tenor Hamid Rodriguez, to do part of his set at the LGBTQ Voices event. Hamid was born in San Germán, Puerto Rico, and studied music at the Conservatory of Puerto Rico with the famous baritone Justino Díaz.