More than one member of the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus has mentioned the difficulty of learning a piece called “ADHD” being sung as part of their Spring concert this year. The song is by Stefan Nilsson, a Swedish composer who suffers from ADHD himself.
“‘ADHD’ is quirky and unpredictable and a little bit obsessive, which can describe someone with ADHD,” said Aaron Howe, artistic director for NMGMC. “At a certain point it gets so frantic, then it ends in beautiful and more traditional choral music, like it’s saying ‘Be at peace with yourself.'”
Howe said that some songs in this 41st season concert are far more upbeat. “The purpose of our concert is not to make people sad,” he said. “It’s to acknowledge this year as a healing from isolation and the pandemic, mentally and emotionally.”
“You Are Enough” is a suite of three songs from which the show’s title is taken. “It’s written for a college-level, polyphonic men’s choir with good music readers,” Howe said. “It has very emotional content and it’s hard to pick up by ear.” Howe, his assistant director Colin Burdge and their accompanist Mike Boring record all of the harmony parts themselves on difficult songs to help the non-music-reading members of the chorus learn their parts.
A few songs from Dear Evan Hansen written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) are included in the upcoming performance, which Howe says “just reach out and grab you.” Featured is “Please Stay” by Jake Runestad, a powerful piece against committing suicide. It is a sweet and tender song; the opening lines include “Don’t let your worst day be your last. The storm is strong, but it will pass.”
The chorus also sings Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” now an anthem for total acceptance of oneself and others. “Identity is such an important issue,” Howe said.
“You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small
But I see your true colors
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow… .”
The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, April 1 at 7:30pm