Lane played host to Soromundi, Eugene’s lesbian chorus, March 9 in the Ragozzino performance Hall. Soromundi is an all-female choir, with women between 20 and 85 years of age.
The performance included music for practically every age group, with a set list ranging from “Let It Be” by The Beatles, to more modern songs like “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, and even adding world music with a Ndebele folk song that originated in Zimbabwe called “Shosholoza.”
A sign language specialist was at the side of the stage, making sure even deaf audience members were able to understand and enjoy the performance.
Between songs, Soromundi members detailed stories of hardship.
“I just wish people would relax and stop hating,” one said in a speech. “My best friend came out to her dad and he kicked her out. My mom was pretty tolerant when I came out to her. But I want a little more than that for my children. Maybe we can make this a better place for our children.”
Karm Hagedorn, the founder and co-director of Soromundi, spoke about the reasons she formed the choir. Years ago, Hagedorn gained inspiration for Soromundi while watching the Portland Lesbian Chorus Choir in a gay pride parade in Portland.
“The time was right for lesbians to gather, and even though it sounds corny, to lift our voice in song in order for our message to be heard,” Hagedorn said.
For many, Soromundi is not just a choir that meets up each week. It’s more of a congregation of sisters, meeting up to share something they love.
“(Soromundi) is like an extended family,” Angie Riley said. “I live 200 miles away from a family that are more conservative.”
Riley has been with the choir for 12 years.
The proceeds for the concert benefited the Lane Gender and Sexuality Alliance and Soromundi’s “Be The Change” upcoming tour, with performances scheduled April 17 to 20 throughout Oregon and Washington.
CORRECTION: In the Mar. 13 issue of The Torch, we incorrectly reported that one of the Soromundi choir’s directors is named Karm Hicks. Her name is Karm Hagedorn. The Torch regrets this error.