Pandemic Delayed, The Quire still celebrates 25 Years



The Quire
Nolan Petersen, Board Chair

Headline: Pandemic Delayed, The Quire still celebrates 25 Years

The Virtual Quire Project brings the music online

Iowa City, IA – The Quire has debuted The Virtual Quire Project — the first online-only performance in the group’s history — in celebration of the COVID-delayed 25 year anniversary of the organization. Available at, the song performed, A Song of Life, is part larger song cycle, commissioned for the anniversary celebration and written with stories and experiences from Members of The Quire.

While earlier celebrations of the milestone year were put on hold due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Quire’s Board of Directors and Members knew the music couldn’t stop there. Under the leadership of Virtual Quire Project Director, Colleen McRoberts, Members of The Quire and guest singers rehearsed and recorded the first song in the cycle Songs of Our Pride, commissioned in commemoration of The Quire’s 25 years. Composed by Connor Warren Smith, a queer musician and composer based in Los Angeles, the song cycle was created using stories and experiences gathered from Members of The Quire. 

As Audra King, longtime Member of The Quire and active in the organization’s leadership, writes, “As I gathered stories – from Quire Members new and established – it was like Connor lived them as he wrote. As a queer musician, he understood what each of us talked about.”

Original celebrations were planned for June, July, and December of 2020. As with many nonprofit arts organizations, all programming was cancelled after The Quire’s last concern in February 2020, which honored longtime civil rights activist and gay man, Bayard Rustin. The Quire has tentatively planned for a live concert later this year — including a full debut of Songs of Our Pride — along with other standards and highlights from The Quire’s performances over the years. 

As singing is one of the riskiest group activities to do when an airborne disease is the concern, the pandemic impact to The Quire has been significant, both operationally and financially. Nolan Petersen, Chair of The Quire’s Board of Directors say, “The Virtual Quire Project may be a different experience than a live concert, but the opportunity to perform this celebratory work is one we are proud to share.” And with music that speaks to some universal truths about LGBTQ+ experiences, The Quire hopes to hear this music performed by groups across the globe in years to come. As King writes, “Every measure, every note – was breathtaking [as Connor wrote it.] It was nothing short of magic – and we are grateful for the gift he gave us.”

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About Connor Warren Smith, composer:
Connor Warren Smith is an internationally-recognized composer, arranger, performer, and studio vocalist active in the greater Los Angeles area. Connor’s choral arrangements, both published and commissioned, are performed worldwide by groups of all sizes and skill-levels. Aside from his work as a composer, Connor is probably most known first and foremost as a vocalist. A regular performer at the Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, Connor has performed on stages both large and small across the globe. As an in-demand Los Angeles session singer, Connor’s voice has appeared in major motion pictures, television shows, albums, Disney Recordings®, and more. Learn more at

About The Quire:

The Quire (of Eastern Iowa) is an LGBTQ+ choral group based in Iowa City. Founded in 1995, under the direction of Rev. Rick Yramategui, The Quire quickly became known for performances which were both entertaining and message-driven, focusing on themes of justice, equality, and community pride. The Quire serves as one of the few LGBTQ+ community organizations in the area and is celebrating 25 years of choral excellence during 2020. The group maintains an open membership policy which does not require musical testing or financial capacity to join. More information about The Quire can be found at 



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