Diverse Harmony

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Diverse Harmony
Diverseharmony logo.jpg
Background information
Birth name Diverse Harmony
Origin Seattle, Washington, USA
Genres Broadway, choral, classical, jazz, popular
Years active 2002–present
Website www.DiverseHarmony.org
Diverse Harmony on Facebook
Members Artistic Director
Jared Brayton Bollenbacher

John Sparkman

President, Board of Directors
Robert Sittig[1]

Diverse Harmony is an American youth chorus based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 2002, it is the first Gay-Straight Alliance youth chorus in the United States.[2][3][4][5] Today, Diverse Harmony is an LGBTQ-Ally youth chorus, and their stated mission is "to create a safe, affirming environment where everyone is accepted for who they are."[6] In addition to singing members, the chorus has an extensive support network of volunteers, subscribers, and donors; they are also a non-profit organization.[7][8][9] Diverse Harmony is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), and was the first youth chorus to participate in a GALA Choruses Festival.[4][5] The chorus appeared in the independent film Why We Sing, which has been screened at LGBT film festivals and on PBS stations across the United States.[5][10]

In 2006, they became the first youth choir to perform at the Gay Games.[11]


Diverse Harmony contingent marches in Seattle's 2007 gay pride parade.

Washington state has over 300 gay–straight alliance clubs that are "trying to end bullying and harassment of LGBT students and promoting tolerance and acceptance for everyone in an educational atmosphere."[11] LGBT middle and high school students - roughly covering the teenaged years - have been shown to feel safer just knowing a GSA was at their school; the clubs provide support, socializing opportunities, and chances to discuss political and social issues.[11] The brainchild of original musical director Rhonda Juliano, Diverse Harmony grew out of the opportunities that many clubs offered by showcasing talents and providing a space for youth to perform for one another.[11]

Some of the kids who were gay needed a safe place to go, and they liked to express themselves through the arts. We decided that a Gay-Straight Alliance youth chorus would be the perfect place.[11]

The chorus is currently directed by Jared Brayton Bollenbacher.

Diverse Harmony is made up of roughly 60 choristers.[11] The group accepts young people ages 13–22, regardless of sexual orientation.[12]


The group started in 2002, after music teacher Rhonda Juliano decided to form the choir to coincide with her own coming out and blending families with her partner. "During the past 20 years, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students began confiding in Rhonda. She provided the only space where they felt completely safe and free to be themselves - in her classes."[13]

On March 1, 2004, KOMO-TV's Brook Stanford became Diverse Harmony's Companis "mission worker," serving as the community outreach director.[14] In 2004, Diverse Harmony opened Seattle's pride week at Saint Mark Episcopal Cathedral with "Let There Be Pride" and shared the bill with the Seattle Women's Chorus.[9] Diverse Harmony is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), and was the first youth chorus to participate in a GALA Choruses Festival.[4][5] The chorus has performed twice at the International music festival put on by the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses; in 2004, at the Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec, and again in 2008, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.[4][5][15] Through these associations, they became one of four choirs predominantly featured in the independent film "Why We Sing," which has been screened at LGBT film festivals and on 300 PBS stations across the United States.[5][10][16][17]

In 2005, Seattle's pride week theme was “The Courage to Love,” and Diverse Harmony again performed, sharing the stage with the Seattle Men's Chorus and the Seattle Women’s Chorus.[18] In 2006, the theme was "Believe," and the chorus presented at Seattle's First Baptist Church.[11] In 2006, Diverse Harmony also performed at the Interfaith Pride Service, celebrating Washington state's new Anti-Discrimination Law and the victory of Andersen v. King County.[19]

Diverse Harmony also performed at Gay Games VII in Chicago, making them the first youth choir ever to perform at the Gay Games.[11][20] On June 2, 2007, their annual concert featured actress Alexandra Billings.[21] On October 19, 2006, Diverse Harmony was the beneficiary of "One Night Only," a "gala cabaret evening" and the last performances at Thumpers, a popular performance venue.[22][23][24]

Diverse Harmony's spring concert on May 30, 2008, was "Awake!," utilizing spirituality themes and exploring the human condition; "a musical collage that journey[ed] from a dark past, through a better today, and into a hopeful tomorrow."[25][26] This was also reflected in their artistic poster, created by chorus members, incorporating, among other iconic symbols, a rainbow, likely in reference to the rainbow flag.[25]

The June 2011 show was "Double Shots & Forget-Me-Nots," a performance covering themes of acceptance and self-worth while dealing with the contemporary issues of homophobia, transphobia, bullying, and youth suicide. This original show, written by Diverse Harmony choristers Kat Miller and Adam Quillian, included musical numbers "The Gospel of Google" and "Not a Fairy Tale."


  • "Our World" (2004)[27]


  1. ^ "Diverse Harmony". The Seattle Foundation. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan (24 August 2006). "A Note On Change:'Why We Sing!' Documentary explores choral music's appeal and how it fosters community". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-07-29. [dead link]
  3. ^ "GALA Choruses 25th Anniversary Timeline". GALA Choruses. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d Dillon, Lawrence B. (2007). "Synopsis: Why We Sing". Golden Gate Performing Arts. Retrieved 2008-07-29. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f "LGBT youth choir to benefit from Thumper's fundraiser One Night Only,'a gala evening of cabaret to raise funds for Diverse Harmony'". Seattle Gay News. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  6. ^ Hastings, David Owen (2008). "About Us: Our vision is a world in which differences are celebrated!". Diverse Harmony. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  7. ^ Worley, Christopher (2006). "About Diverse Harmony". MySpace. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  8. ^ Schmader, David (13 October 2006). "The End of Thumper’s". The Stranger. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  9. ^ a b Hastings, David Owen (2008). "Support Diverse Harmony". Diverse Harmony. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  10. ^ a b Dillon, Lawrence B. (2007). "Home: Why We Sing". Golden Gate Performing Arts. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Frishberg, Manny (12 May 2006). "Gay-Straight Alliances bring out the best in area schools: Local organizations providing services to the student-led groups". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  12. ^ "2007 Pride Listings". Seattle Gay News. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  13. ^ McCandlish, Laura (15 March 2005). "Solidarity Through Song: Gay Choir Turns 25". Columbia News Service. Archived from the original on March 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  14. ^ Darling, Craig R. J. (8 February 2004). "David & Jonathan: Promised Love". Seattle First Baptist. Retrieved 2008-07-29.  (PDF version)[dead link]
  15. ^ Hastings, David Owen (2008). "News and Events". Diverse Harmony. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  16. ^ "Gay Liberation is Guided by Voices". Bay Area Reporter. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  17. ^ Van Iquity, Sister Dana (22 March 2007). "Center For Arts Does Grand Re-Opening". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  18. ^ McKinnon, Rick (10 June 2005). "LGBT Pride in the Northwest". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  19. ^ McKinnon, Rick (16 June 2006). "2006 Pacific Northwest LGBT Pride". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  20. ^ Abarbanel, Jonathan (12 July 2006). "Cultural Potpourri for GG VII". Windy City Times. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  21. ^ McKinnon, Rick (25 May 2007). "Diverse Harmony in Concert". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  22. ^ Nyman, Steve; Nathan Benedict (13 October 2006). "Last call at Thumper's - Restaurant and bar became a Seattle LGBT institution". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  23. ^ Morin, Richard (18 October 2006). "And This Week, Again, Many Performances Are Free". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  24. ^ Murakami, Kery (16 October 2006). "After 21 years, Thumper's announces the final last call". Seattle Post_Intelligencier. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  25. ^ a b "Northwest News: Diverse Harmony Presents "Awake!"". Seattle Gay News. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  26. ^ W., Bill (15 May 2008). "Diverse Harmony LGBT youth chorus free concert". Seattle Gay Scene. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  27. ^ Doyle, JD. Queer Music Heritage (QMH), 26 June 2006, Script. "The called themselves Diverse Harmony and this song, though not released commercially, was performed by them in concerts and on television. It's called Our World."

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