Boston Gay Men\'s Chorus delights full house at Latchis

Evening honors Rep. Lippert, benefits Retreat\'s LGBT program

BRATTLEBORO — The Boston Gay Men's Chorus served up a memorable night of song, advocacy, and community spirit before a capacity crowd at the Latchis Theatre on Nov. 1.

The sold-out event helped raise more than $25,000 for the Brattleboro Retreat's LGBT Program, now in its fifth year of serving the LGBTQ community.

As a part of the evening's program, the Retreat presented Rep. Bill Lippert of Hinesburg with the hospital's 2014 Anna Marsh Award in recognition of his advocacy on behalf of people with mental illness or addiction.

In presenting the award, Retreat CEO Dr. Rob Simpson noted that Lippert had made it “his life's mission to fight for equality for our neighbors who have faced discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity and also to provide care and advocacy for Vermonters suffering with mental illness and addiction.”

Lippert's remarks upon receiving the award reflected the evening's theme of civil rights:

“I want to accept this award on behalf of all the LGBTQ people who have gone before me,” he said. “The sad reality is we've lost too many people along the way. We've lost them to HIV/AIDS. We've lost them to depression and suicide.”

Invoking psychiatric medicine's historical mistreatment of LGBTQ individuals, Lippert added, “It's important for us to hold all of this in our minds as we celebrate the Brattleboro Retreat's LGBT program. It makes it that much more important to understand where we've come from and where we're going - that we now have affirming programs in the mental health system that understand our full and welcome place in the community.”

This first-ever Brattleboro appearance by one of New England's most successful community-based choruses showcased a wide range of music from classical to popular, with highlights that included John Grant's “Glacier,” George Michael's “Faith,” and a surprise encore of Katy Perry's “Firework.”

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