Tyler’s Suite is a Powerful Musical Experience

An #Upstander shares how performing Tyler's Suite as part of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus inspires him to reflect on the impacts of language and action.

Dion Grace of Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus

Hear selections from Tyler’s Suite live at the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus’ event Hand in Hand on April 7 and 8. Get Tickets Now

Tyler’s Suite is an emotionally moving work. Listening to it helps the audience connect with the emotional responses from the many different perspectives represented—Tyler, his mom, his dad, his brother. Singing it, however, is a completely different experience; and using the word ‘powerful’ is quite the understatement.

I was taught as a kid to watch what I say and think before I speak because what I say is, in fact, powerful. Tyler’s story embodies the impacts of hurtful language and actions.

Saying “I hear you say ‘I love you’; I’d say ‘I love you more'” puts me directly in the shoes of Jane Clementi and the unconditional love she can no longer express to Tyler. It’s hard wrapping my mind around how much my mom loves me, but this piece helps understand that love. Joseph Clementi resonates with his emotional response of confusion: “How could this happen? How could someone be so cruel to another person?” It’s an uncomfortably familiar question.

Tyler’s Suite shows that bullying has consequences far beyond words that are said and actions that are taken against intended targets as acts of intolerance. This work is important to me because it reminds us first and foremost that Tyler Clementi was human. He had emotions. He had people that loved him. But because he was bullied, there will be songs we’ll never hear him share and music that will always be unplayed.

Dion Grace is a member of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. Follow the chorus on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.