Building community and creating social change by raising our voices in song.

Out of the Shadows



FREE MLK Day performance:

The Man Behind the Dream

Monday, January 16, 2017 • 7:30-8:30pm
South High School
3131 South 19th Avenue, Minneapolis 55407

No tickets for this free event. Bring a friend and arrive early to ensure seating!


Celebrate MLK Weekend 2017 with One Voice! Out of the Shadows is a concert honoring the work of African-American artists and activists, and featuring the world premiere of One Voice’s largest commission ever, The Man Behind the Dream, a new choral work by Cincinnati composer Steve Milloy. This commission honors the life and work of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, who was pushed to the margins of the movement due to his sexuality. 

The Man Behind the Dream is a multi-movement piece set for chorus, spoken word, soloists and band, and is narrated by incomparable Twin Cities actors, T. Mychael Rambo and Aimee K. Bryant. The concert premieres on Friday, January 13 with a free daytime concert for LGBTQ youth and St. Paul choir students, followed by shows on Saturday, January 14 and Sunday, January 15 concerts at the Ordway Concert Hall in Downtown St. Paul. Featured composers include Ysaye Barnwell, Rosephanye Powell, Sam Cooke, and Billy Strayhorn. The concert also features student performers from the Central High School Mixed Voices Choir.

We are doing a live-stream of Sunday's 3:00 p.m. performance on our Facebook page. Click here to watch it.  Here is the program for the concert.


Meet the Artists

Steve Milloy, Composer

Steve Milloy, Composer

Music director of the Martin Luther King Coalition Chorale and artistic director of the DiverseCity Youth Chorus, Steve Milloy (b. 1965) has spent over three decades coaching and directing singers in schools, churches, theaters, and concert stages across the midwestern United States. He has performed in many venues: theme parks, entertaining troops overseas, TV and radio, and singing with the acclaimed a cappella octet, Pieces of 8.

Steve has been commissioned to compose or arrange pieces for dozens of church & community choruses in the US and UK. He has worked at the keyboard and/or on the podium with choruses and theater troupes in St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.

With Dr. Charles Beale he co-authored the books “Popular Voiceworks 1 and 2” for Oxford University Press. Popular Voiceworks 1 won the 2008 Music Industries Association award for Best Pop Publication.

Steve received a BA in Music from Miami University and a MM in conducting from the University of Cincinnati/College-Conservatory of Music.

T. Mychael Rambo, Narrator & Featured Soloist

T. Mychael Rambo, Narrator & Featured Soloist

T. Mychael Rambo is well known as an actor and vocalist receiving high marks for his contributions as a residency artist/educator and affiliate professor/recruitment coordinator at the University of Minnesota in the School of Theatre Arts and Dance, a motivational speaker, community organizer and a committed community volunteer. 

Additionally, he is an artist in residence for the Minnesota State Arts Board, VocalEssence, Minnesota Opera-Opera Ventures Young Audiences and COMPAS teaching classes and workshops in improvisation, creative dramatics, theatre, voice, and creative writing. For the Minnesota State Arts Board he has participated in residencies with rural communities around the five state region and developed diverse artist collaborations with artist in Wells, MN and artist throughout St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has been a regular artist in residence at St. Paul Central High School for almost two decades. As a volunteer, he works closely with the Urban League, African American Family Services, Amicus, American Red Cross, Minnesota AIDS Project (former Board Member), Turning Point, and Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Also an accomplished actor and theatre professional, while here in the Twin Cities he has performed *(but not limited to) with Penumbra Theatre in Dinah Was, Jitney, Rollin on the T.O.B. A, Zooman and the Sign, Black Nativity, The Last Minstrel Show, Ma Rainy's Black Bottom, Let the Trumpets Sound and Spunk. Other selected stage credits include Always and Forever, Miss Evers Boys, Do Not Pass Go, Miss Dessa and Blues in the Night with the Illusion Theatre; Birth of the Boom, Fires in the Mirror and Dr. King' s Dream with the Mixed Blood Theatre Company; Show Boat and Bok Choy Variations with the Minnesota Opera Company; and Crowns, Christmas Carol, Black No More, Big White Fog and Many Colors Make the Thunder-King at the Guthrie Theatre. 

Aimee K. Bryant, Narrator & Featured Soloist

Aimee K. Bryant, Narrator & Featured Soloist

Aimee K. Bryant has been performing in the Twin Cities for the last 20 years. Some of the highlights of her career include Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun, Ensemble Member in For Colored Girls, Ensemble member in Black Nativity at Penumbra; Cobalt in No Distance Between Us, Queen Elizabeth in Two Weeks with the Queen, and Aimee in How Come Ain't No White People in the Show? at Illusion Theater; Elaria in Emperor of the Moon, Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella, Sarah in Ragtime, Celia in As You Like It, and Marian the Librarian in The Music Man with Ten Thousand Things; Amy in Oh Shit, I'm Turning into My Mother with Theatre Latté Da; Sour Kangaroo in Suessical the Musical, Shaneequa in Splash Hatch on the E Going Down, and Everyone in Seedfolks at Children's Theatre Company; Blues Speak Woman in Spunk, and Knowledge of Good in Deep Azure with Congo Square Theatre Company; Soprano in 8 Track: Sounds of the 70's at the Ordway; Ghetto Superstar inSnapshots at History Theatre; Ida B. Wells in Constant Star, and Celie in The Color Purple at Park Square Theatre; The Moon in Caroline or Change at the Guthrie Theater; Shun in In the Red and Brown Water and in Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, and Martha, Officer Pilate, Miriam, Ida. B. Wells, and Mrs Thomas in The Gospel of Lovingkindness with Pillsbury House Theatre. City Pages named Aimee as the Best Actress of 2015. She is also a teaching artist as well as a vocalist and songwriter. Her original music can be heard on her debut cd “Becoming.”

Vanessa German, Librettist

Vanessa German, Librettist

Vanessa German is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist based in the Homewood community of Pittsburgh, PA. The third of five children, Vanessa was born in Wisconsin and raised in Los Angeles. Her mother is a renowned fiber artist who raised her children to make things and create their own stories and entertainment. "We grew up with the ingredients to make 'stuff'... and most importantly, fully realized faith in our imaginations. This is how we stayed alive—making our ideas leave our bodies through our hands, becoming tangible—and righteous enough for us to keep wanting to do it."

Vanessa has pioneered a performance style called "Spoken Word Opera," which brings all of the drama and theatricality of traditional opera to intimate performances and contemporary themes through a dynamic hybrid of spoken word poetry, hip hop, storytelling, music and movement. Recent performances include TEDx Harvard, TEDx MIT, and TEDx Pittsburgh. Vanessa has written and performed in four evening-length performance works. As a member of the inaugural 2009/2010 class of fellows at the August Wilson Center of African American Culture, she created "root," a spoken word opera. Vanessa is also the subject of the documentary film Tar Baby Jane.

For more information about Vanessa, please check out this illuminating article in Pittsburgh Magazine!


Bayard Rustin


A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.

Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.

Today, the United States is still struggling with many of the issues Bayard Rustin sought to change during his long, illustrious career. His focus on civil and economic rights and his belief in peace, human rights and the dignity of all people remain as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 60s.

Rustin’s biography is particularly important for lesbian and gay Americans, highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending official segregation in America. Rustin stands at the confluence of the great struggles for civil, legal and human rights by African-Americans and lesbian and gay Americans. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against homosexuals, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor, his eloquent voice is needed today.

On November 20, 2013, Barack Obama bestowed a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — on Bayard Rustin. Walter Naegle, Rustin’s surviving life partner, accepted the award.

(Bio courtesy of

To learn more about Mr. Rustin's life & work, please visit the Resources page at or check out the brilliant documentary Brother Outsider by filmmaker Nancy Kates.




All Performances


Sunday Only

• Refund/Cancellation/Return Policy