The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus made a powerful performance on Friday even more meaningful by honoring a gay Georgia teen at the center of a storm over taking his boyfriend to the prom next month.
The chorus ended its five-city “The Road Leads Back” tour on Friday and Saturday with three performances in Atlanta at Virginia Highland Church. On Friday, they invited Derrick Martin (top photo) as their guest to recognize him by making the gay teen an honorary member of the chorus.
Martin gained international headlines last week when he gained approval from school administrators to bring his boyfriend to the Bleckley County High School prom on April 17, only to have his parents kick him out of his Cochran, Ga., home amidst intense media coverage of the flap over the prom. Martin, who enjoyed the concert with a handful of friends, seemed genuinely touched both by the concert on Friday and the standing ovation he received from the crowd.
“This is all a big shock,” Martin told the crowd. “I just wanted to say mainly that everything that I’ve done up to this point has been to show others, like myself in my situation, that you can get your rights. And that you can expect the social rights in school and outside of school.”
Martin’s appearance capped a tour that has taken the chorus to Macon, Savannah, Augusta and Athens to perform a show that combines songs of struggle, triumph and celebration with pieces of its successful “Shaken, Not Heard: Stories of Gay Men, Faith & Reconciliation.” The show on Friday included the favorite “Georgia on My Mind” featuring soloist Robert Sanders and a powerful solo by Allen Burrell during “I Know Where I’ve Been.”