Two concerts that San Francisco Symphony decided to cancel in protest of North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 bill made room in their schedule for last week’s Symphony Pride concert. We’ll be broadcasting that special concert, with special guest Audra McDonald tonight at 8 pm, with Rik hosting. The program raised funds to several local non-profits that benefit the LGBTQ community.
The concert, “celebrating the Bay Area’s spirit of inclusion and diversity,” was a direct response to the North Carolina law that would prohibit transgender people from using public restrooms in state buildings based on their gender identity. The backlash against the “bathroom bill” has been ongoing, and the new governor of North Carolina has only recently succeeded in repealing that portion of the law, but other elements remain in place. When the Symphony decided in December that they would not perform the two scheduled concerts in Chapel Hill, Michael Tilson Thomas, his husband Joshua Robison, and their friend (and co-chair with Robison of the event) Mark Leno decided to counter-program a performance at Davies Symphony Hall that would benefit Larkin Street Youth Services, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the San Francisco LGBT Center, and The Trevor Project. Audra McDonald wore two hats for the performance, singing broadway standards (and also a song by Laura Nyro, accompanied by MTT), and in the second half, narrating Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.