Dr. Ben Riggs Day in Minneapolis!
At the end of Ben’s final concert yesterday afternoon, the Honorable Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis joined the Chorus on stage for a special presentation:
WHEREAS, Dr. Ben Riggs has been the Artistic Director of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus since August 2012, directing the chorus in 16 concerts at Ted Mann Concert Hall over five seasons, and helping to fulfill the organization’s mission of gay men building community through music; and
WHEREAS, less than two weeks after Ben’s arrival as Artistic Director, he led the Chorus in its first outreach performance of the fight against the amendment to limit the freedom to marry; and
WHEREAS, Ben led the Chorus in 11 total outreach performances across Minnesota to promote the freedom to marry, including performing at the “Love is the Law” rally in downtown Saint Paul on May 14, 2013, the evening Governor Mark Dayton signed the freedom to marry into state law, and culminating in performing in Minneapolis City Hall at the very first legally-conducted same-sex weddings in Minnesota history, which began at the stroke of midnight on August 1, 2013, the day the law took effect; and
WHEREAS, Ben has led the Chorus in almost 100 outreach performances during his tenure as Artistic Director, taking the Chorus’s voices and mission around the Twin Cities, across Minnesota, and into Missouri, North Dakota and Colorado, as well as on national network television during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul in January 2016; and
WHEREAS, Ben created a new ensemble group, the TCGMC Chamber Singers, to give the Chorus another creative outlet for providing musical programming that is exceptional, entertaining, and educational; and
WHEREAS, Ben has continued the Chorus’s legacy of commissioning important new music for the LGBT choral movement, including several songs for men’s chorus and small ensemble, Andrew Lippa’s I Am Harvey Milk, and the Chorus’s groundbreaking 35th-anniversary commission Two Boys Kissing, which the Chorus performed to great acclaim here and at GALA Festival in Denver, and which is now being performed by LGBT choruses around the country; and
WHEREAS, Mayor Hodges is a particular fan of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, has enjoyed the results of Ben’s work and leadership a great deal, and is exceedingly fond of Ben as a person; and
WHEREAS, Ben leaves our community after a successful tenure in cultivating and growing Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus in its artistry, advocacy, and community of singers;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BETSY HODGES, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS, hereby proclaim Sunday, December 10, 2017 as
DR. BEN RIGGS DAY IN THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS
and encourage all the members, staff, supporters, family, friends, and fans of Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus to celebrate the positive, tremendous impact that Ben has made on this LGBT choral organization here in Minneapolis, on the choral community in Minnesota, and across the LGBT choral movement nationally.