NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The artistic director of Nashville's LGBTQ community chorus is preparing to retire.
Nashville In Harmony's show 'Hearts Aglow' will be the final holiday show with Don Schlosser at the helm.
"It's been fascinating and rewarding to see how the group has grown," he said.
Schlosser joined the group 16 years ago as an accompanist. At the time, there were roughly 20 people in the choir. After the first season, he was asked to be the artistic director.
"The group was originally started as an idea at the First Unitarian Universalist Church. They were trying to figure out a way to bring the LGBTQ community and straight community together. That was kind of a revolutionary thing at the time," he said.
Now the group has nearly 120 members. The mission has remained the same - use music to build community and create social change.
"When we first started going out in the community and singing we were nervous about identifying as LGBTQ because you [didn't] know how you're going to be received in Nashville. We've become more comfortable to stand up and say who we are and advocate for the community and our own rights and opportunities," he said.
Schlosser is staying in Nashville and said retirement is coming with mixed emotions.
"The sense of 'how can I walk away from this?' But at the same time that it's time to walk away and time to let somebody take over. There is going to be a lot of loss and a sense of grief, but there is also a sense of so much pride and accomplishment and value in what I've been able to do," he said.
The holiday show is Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt's Langford Auditorium.
Schlosser officially retires in the spring.