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Schuur Thing

Diane Schuur wakes up the Reveille Gay Men's Chorus.

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A blind jazz singer and a chorus of gay men have had plenty of obstacles to overcome throughout their lives, so the travel restrictions after the September 11 attacks are hardly enough to stop their joint concert.

Better late than never, on Saturday, October 20, the Reveille Gay Men's Chorus' Reveille's Crescendo will launch a planned annual series of shows featuring a celebrity guest. Postponed from last month, the concert will feature beloved Grammy-winning vocalist Diane Schuur, who lived and performed in Tucson in the late 1970s, just before she hit it big.

If you already have tickets for the original September date, you'll have to cash them in at the point of purchase; they won't be honored at the door. But what seems like an inconvenience turns out to be a good deal: Admission prices are now lower.

"We reconsidered our market and decided we wanted to be able to attract a larger audience," says chorus spokesman Mark Rosenbaum.

That audience could be as large as 2,200, since the show takes place in the TCC Music Hall. Rosenbaum says good seats are still available in every section, even though Schuur's 1993 appearance at the slightly larger Centennial Hall sold out quickly.

This time around, Schuur will appear with her own jazz combo, taking turns on stage with Reveille and the Tucson Jazz Society Orchestra. Each group will perform a set on its own, and collaborate with the others.

Rosenbaum stresses that Reveille wants to appeal to a broad audience, and so Schuur is the obvious celebrity guest for the chorus' first major collaboration.

"Diane Schuur appeals to audiences of all genders and orientations, and she has a unique and personalized style which we like very much," he says.

Similarly, although Reveille's opening number, "Seize the Day," could be interpreted as a gay pride song, Rosenbaum believes there's far more to it than that.

"We're excited about it because musically it's a very uplifting piece," he says, "but beyond that it speaks to who we are as a chorus and as members of the gay community, and with the events of last month it takes on new meaning to all of us as Americans."

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