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Curriculum for Youth Classrooms

GALA choirs have commissioned hundreds of compositions in our 40-year history. Three of these larger commissions have supporting curriculum designed for middle and high-school students. These resources are available without charge to school and youth choruses.

Explore the three commissions below for more information. Each of educational materials can be used in conjunction with the complete larger work or with 2-3 pieces from the larger commission.

Lifting as We Climb

Lifting As We Climb
Composed by Joan Szymko for SSAA chorus, piano, alto sax, percussion, and 8 story-tellers/narrators
Length: 5 minutes, 4 movements

Order score from Joan Szymko

Watch the Lifting As We Climb video including interviews with Joan Szymko, Catherine Roma and commission organizers.

Student Curriculum: An accompanying middle-school curriculum is provided free of charge and includes historical information as well as musical scores.


Joan Syzmko's composition honors the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote which occurred in the US in 1920 and close to this time in Canada and England. Whereas we recognize the passage of the 19th as a major turning point in our history, countless women remained, and remain, disenfranchised.

The title, “Lifting as We Climb” comes from the words of African American suffragist, Mary Church Terrill—founder of National Association of Colored Women and Charter member of the NAACP: “And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ere long. With courage, born of success achieved in the past, with a keen sense of the responsibility which we shall continue to assume, we look forward to a future large with promise and hope.“

“Lifting as We Climb” in four musical movements and with connecting historical narrative celebrates the generations of women (and men) who worked tirelessly for the enfranchisement of women and on those who shone the light of truth on male privilege, white privilege and corporate privilege.

  1. “What We Do—Now” (poem by Ellen Hagen)
  2. “Organize, Agitate, Educate” (battle cry of Susan B. Anthony)
  3. Interlude: “We Are All Bound Up Together”
  4. “We Shake, We Shine” (Ida B. Wells, Coretta Scott King, and Mary Church Terrill)

For more information visit the Dr. Catherine Roma Commissioning page.

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream
Composed by Steve Milloy, libretto by Vanessa German
Length: 55 min total, approximately 35 min of music plus narration
Scored for SATB chorus, 2 actor/singers, piano, optional 5-piece band

Student Curriculum: download here
Score: Individual movements may be purchased and performed separately. To order the score contact Steve Milloy

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream premiered January 2017. The composition honors the life and work of openly gay African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a huge influential voice in the civil rights movement. As a Quaker and pacifist, he taught Dr. Martin Luther King the principles of non-violent direct action, and shaped the very core of civil rights strategy. However, since Rustin was a gay man, his story and influence was systematically hidden from history books.

In addition to portraying Rustin’s childhood and young-adult years, the composition culminates with the story of the 1963 March on Washington, Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech, and the work of current day Black Lives Matter queer activists.

The Man Behind the Dream was composed by gay, African American composer Steve Milloy and the libretto was written by queer, African American spoken-word artist, Vanessa German, with additional lyrics by David Major, Bruce Preston, and Norman Welch. Jane Ramseyer Miller, provided the conceptual design and artistic direction.

Check out an interview about the composition on Minnesota Public Radio.

Commissioned by One Voice Mixed Chorus (Minnesota), One Voice Charlotte (North Carolina), River City Mixed Chorus (Nebraska), The Quire (Iowa), Harmony: a Colorado Chorale (Colorado), and The South Coast Chorale (California).

Quiet No More

Quiet No More
Composers: Quiet No More features the voices of a group of diverse LGBTQ composers, including Julian Hornik (Dear Evan Hansen); Our Lady J (Pose, Transparent); Mike Shaieb (Through A Glass Darkly); Ann Hampton Callaway (singer/song-writer); Michael McElroy (Broadway Inspirational Voices, Rent); and Jane Ramseyer Miller (One Voice Mixed Chorus).

Scored for TTBB, SSAA, SATB choruses, piano, optional band
Length: 40 minutes, 8 movements

Student Curriculum: download here
Score: Individual movements may be performed separately. To order the score contact Charles Beale

June 28, 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and ultimately the birth of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement. The protests at Stonewall lit the fire for PRIDE, the effects of which are still as vital today as they were 50 years ago.

To commemorate this important historical event, over two dozen GALA choruses co-commissioned a choral work titled Quiet No More. The songs focus on the historical impact of the Stonewall Inn Riots and the relevance of the message to “stand up” and “speak out” for justice and equality over fifty years later.

Movements and composers:
I - Prologue: It Was The Day by Michael Shaieb
II - 'The Only Place That You Can Dance' by Michael Shaieb
III - Glorious Beauties by OurLadyJ
IV - Gotta Get Down to Downtown by Michael Shaieb
V - And We Walked by Julian Hornik
VI - We Are A Celebration by Michael McElroy, lyrics by Jason Cannon and Michael McElroy
VII - What If Truth Is All We Have? by Ann Hampton Callaway
VIII - Speak Out! by Jane Ramseyer Miller

Quiet No More was devised and conceived by Dr Charles Beale (NYCGMC), Dr Joe Nadeau (GMCLA) and Jason Cannon. It was commissioned by The New York City Gay Men's Chorus and Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles along with the following co-commissioning choruses:

ANNA Crusis Women's Choir
Chicago Gay Men's Chorus
Columbus Gay Men's Chorus
Denver Men's Chorus & Denver Women's Chorus
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte
Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
Heartland Men’s Chorus
Lesbian and Gay Chorus of San Francisco
One Voice Mixed Chorus: Minnesota’s LGBTA chorus
Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus
Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus
Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus
River City Mixed Chorus
San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
San Diego Women’s Chorus
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus
Stonewall Chorale
Triad Pride Men’s Chorus
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

Many thanks to GALA Choruses for funding the educational materials associated with the project.

Visit the GALA Resource Center REPERTOIRE page for additional resources and commissions.


Steve Milloy conducts the premiere of The Man Behind the Dream.

GALA Festival 2020 Minneapolis

Want to attend a choral festival like no other? Join us at GALA Festival 2020! And watch the video highlights from Festival 2016 in Denver.