The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Wants YOU... to Come Out and Sing!

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday August 24, 2012

The Boston Gay Men's Chorus is ready to launch its 31st season. The 150-member group is also looking for a few good men to stand up and raise their voices in song.

The core missions of the group are to promote artistic excellence and to help bring about a more accepting society for everyone through the power of music. This is work, and play, for social change with a strong sense of fun as well as a deep and dignified conscience.

The 2012-2013 season is set to include the usual Holiday, Spring, and Pride concerts that every season offers. For the Holidays, the Chorus will engage in "Celebrations of Light" with "Hallelujah!," a joyous array of traditional carols as well as music that embraces all the other sacred aspects of the season, from Chanukah to Native American observance of the Winter Solstice.

Come Spring of next year, the Chorus explores "Finding Your Own Voice" with "Seize the Day," a "thrilling world premiere by Ricky Ian Gordon, one of today's most exciting composers for Broadway and opera." The show will feature area high school singers, underlining one of the most crucial functions the Chorus serves: Providing positive role models and a supportive voice for oft-beleaguered GLBT youth.

And next June, the BGMC lights up Pride by revisiting one of its most popular recent themes, with "Divas Unleashed!" "We'll take a new look at some favorites like Barbra, Bette, Dionne and Judy," text at the BGMC home page promises. "Plus, we've added a few this time around, like Audra and the Supremes.

"Of course there will be tributes to Whitney Houston and Donna Summer. And there just might be some surprises for you as well," the home page adds.

If seeing the Chorus from the perspective of the audience is a thrill, the experience of being a part of it all from up on stage is even more intense and exciting.

"First of all, singing in the BGMC is a blast!" exclaims director Reuben Reynolds. "Really, no one knows how much fun it is to be up on that stage till you experience it yourself.

"When people ask what it is like to sing in the chorus, the first thing I always mention is how great it feels to be up on that stage just having fun," Reynolds adds. "It is only after that, though, that it hits you how important what we do is. We are singing the stories of our lives--representing our community to the world. We are raising money to fund Gay - Straight Alliances in area high schools. We are making music that feeds people's souls. And we are one of the warmest, most welcoming groups you will ever experience.

"Being part of the BGMC is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have," adds the director, who recently led the BGMC to Denver, Colorado, for GALA, the music festival that draws gay and lesbian choruses from all over the nation, and beyond, once every four years. The 2012 edition of GALA was the best attended to date, with over 6,000 delegates performing more than 200 concerts over a four-day period.

The BGMC encourages singers with prior choral experience to audition, but neophytes are also welcome to join. It's helpful to be able to read music, but not essential. There are four sections to the BGMC's singing membership: Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Baritone, and Bass. But friendships and fun cross sections during rehearsals, concerts, and outreach activities such as the performances that the Chorus donates to area high schools several times each year to help Gay-Straight Alliances.

The Chorus also enjoys a retreat to Maine each Autumn, and hosts special events such as an annual Cabaret and Crescendo, the yearly fundraiser that always features top talent: Bruce Vilanch and Sandra Bernhard have headlined the event in past years.

Those who do not sing, or just do not wish to, can still participate: The Chorus always has need of members to staff the vital "fifth section," the volunteers who help run the concerts and other special events, and who attend the once-weekly rehearsals to socialize and help out with the practical details.

"Join us for auditions to find out what it is really like!" Reynolds exhorts.

Auditions will take place Sunday, September 9, between 1 and 3 p.m., at Emmanuel Church, located at 15 Newbury Street in Boston. The audition form can be found at the Chorus home page. Those with questions can submit their queries via email to [email protected] or phone the office at 617-247-SING.

Prior to the September 9 auditions, prospective new Chorus members are invited to attend an open rehearsal on Wednesday, September 5, at 7:00 p.m., also at Emmanuel Church.

Kilian Melloy, a Tenor 2, is a musical illiterate who learns his parts by ear. It's worked so far.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.