Word and Flesh: Queer Possibility and the Anglican Choral Tradition
by Lauri Cielo
This Sunday’s talk invites us to learn more about the Anglican Choral Tradition and to consider how, through its “raids into what is unsayable,” it might reveal both itself and the sacred texts that it foregrounds as perhaps queerer than we have long thought: more powerful a force in destabilizing longstanding hierarchies, creating space in our communities for those on the margins, and imagining new possibilities for being human in and beyond the Church.
Our speaker, Ben Liberatore, is an Alto in Saint Peter’s Choir, having found the church and its music program in the wake of writing an undergraduate thesis on gender and nostalgia in British cathedral choirs. After a year focused on a master’s thesis on the so-called ‘boy crisis’ in Western education, his evolving research interests currently constellate around musical childhoods, the possibilities for queer life in sacred places and texts, and sites that seem to afford alternative experiences of space, time, and body. In beginning doctoral study, he is interested in further examining narratives of growth and delay that compass or trouble ideas about ‘healthy’ childhoods and in thinking about choristership in particular as a potential site for reimagining children’s places in our notions of progress, arrest, and refuge.