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New York City Gay Men's Chorus

The New York City Gay Men's Chorus is a choral organization in New York City that has been presenting an annual concert season for more than three decades.

New York City Gay Men's Chorus
New York City Gay Men's Chorus 2009.jpg
New York City Gay Men's Chorus performing in the 2009 New York City Gay Pride Parade.
Background information
Also known as NYCGMC
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Years active 1980 (1980)–present



The New York City Gay Men's Chorus (NYCGMC) was founded in August 1980 by Ed Weaver who having moved to NYC had been a member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Their first season culminated in a sold out concert with the Riverside Symphony at Alice Tully Hall in June 1981 which featured new pieces or newly arranged works by Leonard Bernstein, Jack Gottlieb, Calvin Hampton, John Mueter, Stephen Sondheim, and Glen Vecchione.[1] Music critic Allen Hughes in his review in The New York Times wrote:

"The chorus is less than a year old, having been organized last August, but there was nothing about it that suggested immaturity. Musicianship and diction were exemplary, the dark tuxedos worn by all singers made for neat appearance, and the entrances and exits had been planned to achieve optimum efficiency, dignity and style."[1]

In 1982 the chorus became one of the founding members of the GALA Choruses along with The Stonewall Chorale, the Anna Crusis Women's Choir, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and a handful of other choruses[2] and the following year the chorus was host to the "first national gay choral festival" presented by GALA at Alice Tully Hall. In addition to the NYCGMC, the festival featured performances by gay choruses from Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, Madison, Wis., Anaheim, Calif., and New Orleans. The final performance included performances by New York's Stonewall Chorale and NYCGMC. Included on the NYCGMC performance was a commissioned work by composer John David Earnest, with the world premiere of "Only in the Dream." The festival concluded with the combined choruses and featured two world premieres: Libby Larsen's Everyone Sang and Ned Rorem's Whitman Cantata.[3] In 1984 the chorus performed at the Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). It was the first time that the ACDA had featured a gay chorus at one of its conventions.[4]

In 1985 the NYCGMC participated in a high profile AIDS Benefit, The Best of the Best: A Show of Concern, at the Metropolitan Opera House; appearing alongside such legends as Burt Bacharach, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carole Bayer Sager, Carol Burnett, Ellen Burstyn, Colleen Dewhurst, Marilyn Horne, Melissa Manchester, Bette Midler, Christopher Reeve, Brooke Shields, Lily Tomlin, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.[5] The chorus has continued to perform regularly in benefits for a variety of organizations and causes, including arts education funding for New York schools.[6]

Throughout its history the NYCGMC has been committed to supporting contemporary composers. In 1985 the chorus established an annual choral competition, the first winner of which was John Burge's Songs of War.[7] In a July 1985 review music critic Bernard Holland wrote: "The creation of homosexual singing ensembles in recent years provides more than just a sense of cultural community. Good music for concerted male voices has occupied major composers only marginally in the past, and enthusiastic performers such as the New York City Gay Men's Chorus are providing an outlet and an inspiration for new music."[7] As of 2011 the NYCGMC has commissioned more than 100 choral works, including Conrad Susa's The Chanticleer's Carol (1981),[8] Stuart Raleigh's Words for the Future (1985),[7] David Conte's Invocation and Dance (1987),[9] and Frank Ferko's Humoresques (1987).[9]

European Concert ToursEdit

In 1988 the NYCGMC became the first American gay chorus to tour Europe with performances in London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Germany and Paris. The performances were all used as benefits for the local communities to raise funds to combat the AIDS crisis in those cities. In London, the concert was hosted by Ian McKellen and featured the iconic Eartha Kitt.

The Chorus would return to Europe in 1991 to promote its third recording - Love Lives On. This tour featured performances in London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Munich and Paris. Again the performances raised funds for local AIDS charities. In London the host for the concert was Simon Callow. In Amsterdam the Chorus performed in a concert benefit for the Dutch National AIDS Fund. The concert, Friends For Life, featured soprano Roberta Alexandra and the Dutch National Police Band. The concert was recorded as well as televised on national television.

The Chorus toured Europe a third time in 1998, sharing the stage with the Seattle Men's Chorus. This tour covered Barcelona, Spain, Paris, Amsterdam and London. In addition to their own performance in Amsterdam, the choruses also took part in the cultural part of the Gay Games V.

In June 2014, the Chorus returned to London once more to perform with the London Gay Men's Chorus. The performance was at the Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall. While in London, the Chorus also performed at the US Embassy at a reception hosted by US Ambassador Matthew W. Barzun. After its performance in London, the Chorus traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to take part in the European LGBT Choral Festival, Various Voices. The Chorus took part on the Festival stage and also performed at the US Embassy in Dublin. The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre was the site for a special performance of Big Gay Sing: Club Night Out as a benefit performance to raise funds for the Marriage Equality drive in Ireland. A check for €30,000 was presented to Marriage Equality in Ireland.

Performance HistoryEdit

Season Holiday Concert Spring Concert Pride Concert
2017-2018 Holiday Slay! Big Gay Sing X: Tenth Anniversary Queer Genius: David Bowie and Beyond
2016-2017 Xmas and Chill Big Gay Sing: Welcome to New York I See Fire - Anthems for a New Era
2015-2016 Light: A Holiday Celebration Big Gay Sing: Mind the Gap It's Complicated
2014-2015 Home for the Holidays Big Gay Sing 7: Movie Mania! Generation Y
2013-2014 What A Wonderful World Big Gay Sing 6: Club Night Out Four Choirs and a Cathedral
2012-2013 An American Holiday Big Gay Sing 5: Broadway America the Beautiful?
2011-2012 Holiday House of Love Big Gay Sing 4 What Now?(!)
2010-2011 Sing Your Brass Off! Big Gay Sing 3D (Accentuate the) Positive
2009-2010 Together at Town Hall Big Gay Sing 2 High
2008-2009 Holiday Spectacular Big Gay Sing Outreach Performances
2007-2008 Holiday Spectacular Take the A Train (NJPAC) Vibrate
2006-2007 Holiday Spectacular Classically NYCGMC Take the A Train
2005-2006 Holiday Spectacular You Oughta Be in Pictures Our Journey
2004-2005 Silver Bells Absolutely 80s Season in Pride
2003-2004 Twisted Holiday A Great Generation Out on Broadway
2002-2003 A Holiday Homecoming Viva La Diva Pride for All Ages
2001-2002 Holiday Flourish We Are Family Music for Michael Mouse
2000-2001 Ring in the Season 2001: A Choral Odyssey Diversity
1999-2000 Comfort and Joy Old Friends A Gay Century Songbook
1998-1999 Seasons of the Heart Swellegant Elegance Common Ground
1997-1998 Near to Us Once More The Man I Love Look to the Rainbow
1996-1997 A Christmas Garland Jerry's Boys Naked Man
1995-1996 Deck the Hall With a Song in Our Heart Out with Our Friends
1994-1995 A Family Holiday Operantics Out with Our Friends
1993-1994 Making Spirits Bright! Live In Concert Flashpoint/Stonewall
1992-1993 Joyful and Triumphant Reel Music Our Songs Have Changed Us
1991-1992 Wassail! Bernstein! Proud!
1990-1991 Deck the Hall Anything Cole Diversity
1989-1990 Masters in This Hall Rhapsody Toasting the Tenth
1988-1989 Noel! Noel! Sondheim Tonight! Together in Pride
1987-1988 Welcome Yule Ten Cents a Dance Share the Pride
1986-1987 Deck the Hall NYCGMC: The Movie We, the People
1985-1986 Home for the Holidays In Living Color A Bi-Coastal Affair
1984-1985 A Holiday Sampler Back to Broadway Singing Out Proud!
1983-1984 Home for the Holidays One Night Only! Together at Last
1982-1983 Winter Settings Fascinatin' Rhythms In Concert
1981-1982 Christmas at Carnegie Hall Valentine's Concert At Alice Tully Hall
1980-1981 Live at Cooper Union This Time Broadway Testament of Freedom

Performance SeasonsEdit

Season One - 1980-1981

The first concert performance by the Chorus was at The Great Hall of Cooper Union on December 19, 1980. Live at Cooper Hall was a Christmas concert. Bond's International Casino was the setting for the second concert, This Time Broadway, on March 22, 1981. The final concert of the premiere season was at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall with two performances on June 24 and June 27, 1981. The concert featured Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom.

Season Two - 1981-1982

The first concert of the second season saw the Chorus debut their holiday concert at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 1981. Guest conductor during the evening was Robin Kay, the conductor of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Chorus. Featured during the evening was the commissioned piece, Chanticleer's Carol by Conrad Susa. The spring concert was on February 14, 1982 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and featured guest chorus Windy City Gay Chorus from Chicago for this Valentine's Day Concert. The third concert of the season was the pride concert again at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. This year there were three performances on June 22, June 24, and June 26. New York City Opera mezzo-soprano Jane Shaulis was the guest artist. Among the repertoire was Brahm's Alto Rhapsody and the world premieres of Calvin Hampton's Fanfare for the Uncommon Man, James Adler's Songs of Innocence and Experience, and Two Shakespeare Sonnets by Philip Hagemann.

Season Three - 1982-1983

The holiday concert for this season was Winter Settings and took place at Carnegie Hall on December 14, 1982. The evening featured the commissioned piece Winter Settings by Dennis Riley. Also on the program were pieces by James Adler, Conrad Susa, and Daniel Pinkham. The spring concert was also held at Carnegie Hall on February 27, 1983. Titled Fascinating Rhythms the evening featured guest artists Loretta Divine, Ellen Greene, Stephen Hanan, Terri Klausner, Maureen McGovern and Liliane Montevecchi. The evening was hosted by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams. The final concert of the season was In Concert held at Avery Fisher Hall on June 22, 1983. The evening featured guest mezzo-soprano Meredith Rawlins. Stuart Raleigh's When I Heard at the Close of the Day premiered at this concert. Other pieces on this program included the Chorus commissioned work Only in the Dream vy John David Earnest as well as arrangements of Sometimes When We Touch by Mark Riese and Stephen Sondheim's Our Time arranged by Larry Moore.

Season Four - 1983-1984

The annual concert season included Home for the Holidays at Carnegie Hall on December 12, 1983. Featured pieces included the world premiere of Daniel Pinkham's Lauds, a new commission for the Chorus. Also on the program was Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols and Mark Riese's arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen that has become a staple for the Chorus during the holiday season over the years. New York City Opera soprano Karen Huffstodt was also in attendance to lend excitement to the evening. The spring concert on March 25, 1984 was at Avery Fisher Hall. One Night Only was an evening of the music of Broadway. It was hosted by Kaye Ballard and featured a roster of guest artists from the Broadway stage. Among the guests were Betty Buckley, Liz Callaway, Kay Cole, Catherine Cox, Denny Dillon, Beth Fowler, Peggy Hewitt, George S. Irving, Larry Kert, Alexandra Korey, Julia McGirt, Maureen McGovern, Ron Raines, Justin Ross, Debbie Shapiro, Jo Sullivan, and Karen Ziemba. On June 21 and June 23, 1984, the Chorus presented Together at Last featuring the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C. This was the second time the two Choruses had performed together. They previously performed earlier on June 16, 1984, where they performed at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Season Five - 1984-1985

The fifth season saw the holiday performance at Carnegie Hall on December 18, 1984. Holiday Sampler included many favorite pieces from previous holiday performances including Mark Riese's God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Dennis Riley's Winter Settings. New commissioned works for this concert were Libby Larsen's Welcome Yule and James Adler's Carols of Splendour. Samuel Adler's Chanukah songs Praise Thy Saving Power also received their New York premiere in this program. The spring concert featured another salute to Broadway. Back to Broadway featured music of Broadway in the 80s and took place on March 31, 1985 at Carnegie Hall. The roster of guest artists who performed included Betty Buckley, Liz Callaway, Terri Klausner, Maureen McGovern, Ann Reinking, Jamie Rocco, George Rose, Roz Ryan, Camilla Saviola, and Debbie Shapiro. The evening was hosted by The High Heeled Women. The fifth pride concert was held at Alice Tully Hall on three consecutive evenings, June 27, 28, 29, 1985. Among the composer's on the program were Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Charles Ives, Cole Porter, and Ned Rorem. The world premiere of John Burge's Songs of War was also programmed. It was the winner of the first NYCGMC Composer's Contest.

Season Six - 1985-1986

Home for the Holidays was held at Carnegie Hall on December 18, 1985. A new commission from Conrad Susa was on the program this year, titled Arise and Wake!. The spring concert on March 23, 1986 was also at Carnegie Hall. The concert had a color theme, and In Living Color featured the talents of Michelle Bautier, Vicki Belmonte, Shane Davis, Debra Ann Draper, Helen Gallagher, Philip Koch, Dorothy Loudon, Kim Morgan, Ron Raines, Debbie Shapiro, Randy Skinner, David Summers, and Elisabeth Welch. The evening was hosted by Saturday Night Live members Terry Sweeney and Danitra Vance. The pride concert was on June 30 and July 1, 1986 at Alice Tully Hall. The Seattle Men's Chorus was the guest of the Chorus for this concert. Featured on the program was the New York premiere of Charles Gounod's Dedication for the Statue of Liberty. Other works were by Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, John David Earnest, John Philip Sousa, Richard Strauss, and Stephen Sondheim.

Season Seven - 1986-1987

Colleen Dewhurst appeared on the holiday concert, Deck the Hall, at Carnegie Hall on December 23, 1986. Ms. Dewhurst narrated A Sumptuous Feast of Old English Carols. March 22, 1987 was the date for the spring concert, NYCGMC: The Movie hosted by Vito Russo. Presenting music of the movies both past and present, featured the talents of Sharon McNight, Marilyn Sokol, Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh, Sylvia Syms, and Baby Jane Dexter. The pride concert was a celebration of the bicentennial of the Constitution. We the People was presented on three evenings, June 23, 25, 27, 1987 at Alice Tully Hall. The program featured the New York premiere of David Conte's Invocation and Dance and Humoresques, the winning composition of the second NYCGMC Composers Contest.

Season Eight - 1987-1988

The first concert of the season was Welcome Yule presented at Carnegie Hall on December 22, 1987. The special guest for the evening was soprano Faith Esham and featured the world premiere of David Conte's Hymn to the Nativity. Also on the program was the New York premiere of a collection of wonderful Christmas dances, Ringeltanze by composer Libby Larsen. For the spring concert the Chorus took a departure from regular concert halls to perform Ten Cents a Dance, a salute to the great big band music. The concert took place at the New York Penta Hotel. Comedian Julie Kurnitz was the guest for the evening which also featured the talents of Hot Lavender the gay and lesbian swing band. The concert was presented on March 26 and 27, 1988. Completing the season was the pride concert Share the Pride featuring the Boston Gay Men's Chorus as guest artists. The concert took place at Avery Fisher Hall on June 19, 1988. The evening culminated with the double choir presentation of John David Earnest's Jubilation and NYCGMC also presented John David Earnest's world premiere of Open Wide Your Eyes.

Season Nine - 1988-1989

Noel, Noel was the first concert of the season. It was presented at Carnegie Hall for two performances on December 21 and 22, 1988. A newly commissioned work, Good Cheer, by composer Gregg Smith was given its world premiere at this concert. The spring concert was a celebration of the music of Stephen Sondheim. Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center was the setting for Sondheim Tonight! presented on April 2, 1989. There were performances from many Broadway actors who had appeared in Mr. Sondheim's musicals. Among the guests were Dean Butler, Nancy Dussault, Joy Franz, Ann Harada, James Judy, Larry Kert, Sharon McNight, Ron Raines, Debbie Shapiro, Elaine Stritch, Julie Wilson and BD Wong. At the conclusion of the evening, All guests joined in Side By Side for the finale when Mr. Sondheim ran from the seats to join the cast for the final bow. Once again the pride concert was presented at Alice Tully Hall for three performances on June 21, 23, and 24. Each night featured a different guest. Former Chorus member Michael Callen was featured at the performance on the 21st. The Stonewall Chorale was the guest for the performance on June 23, and the subgroups of the Chorus, the Chamber Choir and Uptown Express, were the guests for the final performance on June 24, 1989.

Season Ten - 1989-1990

Soprano Faith Esham returned for the holiday concert, Masters in This Hall, at Carnegie Hall on December 20 and 21, 1989. The spring concert, Rhapsody was also held at Carnegie Hall on March 1, 1990, and featured mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne as guest artist. Ms. Horne performed Brahms' Alto Rhapsody as well as some other selections from Rossini operas. The tenth anniversary pride concert was held at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. Toasting the Tenth was a return to the big band sound featuring the sounds of Hot Lavender and also the talents of Julie Kurnitz. The concert took place on June 15, 1990.

Season Eleven - 1990-1991

Deck the Hall was the first concert of the season, presented at Carnegie Hall on December 18 and 19, 1990. The evening included the usual holiday selections along with the New York premiere of Ron Nelson's Ring Out, Wild Bells and the commissioned work from William Bolcom, The More Loving One/Maha Sonnet. The spring concert presented a centennial celebration of composer Cole Porter. Anything Cole was presented on April 7, 1991 at Carnegie Hall. The guest artists that evening were David Carroll, Stockard Channing, Dougherty & Field, Eartha Kitt, Elly Stone, and Terri White. The pride concert, Diversity, was held at Alice Tully Hall on June 28 and 29, 1991 and featured the Denver Women's Chorus as guests.

Season Twelve - 1991-1992

This all Carnegie Hall season featured the holiday program Wassail! on December 18 and 19, 1991. The concert featured the world premiere of a new commissioned piece from composer Robert Seeley titled Fanfare and Noel. The evening also included the ever popular Three Carols arranged by Mark Riese, I Saw Three Ships, What Child is This, and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. On March 22, 1992 the Chorus presented a star-studded salute to Leonard Bernstein. Collaborators Betty Comden and Adolph Green acted as hosts for this special evening, Bernstein!. Guest artists included Joyce Castle, Walter Charles, Debbie Shapiro Gravitte, Kevin Gray, Amanda Green, Constance Hauman, Judy Kaye, Rebecca Luker, Sharon McNight, Phyllis Newman, Kurt Ollmann, and Ron Raines. The season concluded on June 21, 1992 with the presentation of Proud!. The centerpiece of the evening was John Corigliano's Of Rage and Remembrance, the choral version of the Third Movement from his First Symphony. The piece was inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt and was written as a response to the loss of friends to the health crisis.

Season Thirteen - 1992-1993

The opening concert of the season was Joyful and Triumphant presented at Carnegie Hall on December 17 and 18, 1992 with guest artist Roberta Peters. The spring concert was a return to the movies. Reel Music was held at Carnegie Hall on March 21, 1993. The evening was hosted by Rex Reed, Bobby Rivers and Liz Smith who gave tidbits of movie trivia between performances. The guest artists for this concert included Jim Bailey, BETTY, Stockard Channing, Daisy Eagan, Sharon McNight, and Marni Nixon. The highlight of the evening was the voice of Hollywood, Marni Nixon performing several of her famous songs and then offering a parody title I Could Have Dubbed Myself. Dutch Treat was the pride concert on June 22, 1993 at Carnegie Hall and featured the appearance of Noot aan de Man, the gay men's chorus from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They were the first foreign gay chorus to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage. The main feature of the evening was the presentation of a song cycle, Hidden Legacies by Roger Bourland and John Hall. The cantata was in response to the AIDS crisis with styles of music ranging from jazz to pop to classical.

Season Fourteen - 1993-1994

The holiday concert, Making Seasons Bright, was held at Carnegie Hall on December 21 and 22, 1993. Assistant Music Director Dean X Johnson was the conductor for the evening as Music Director Gary Miller was taking a well-deserved time off. The concert returned to feature the sounds of the Chorus. There were pieces that were arranged by Chorus members and the two small ensembles, Chamber Choir and Uptown Express, both presented songs. March 20, 1994 was the spring concert at Carnegie Hall and featured the talents of guests Holly Near and The Flirtations. June 1994 was the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Also the fourth Gay Games were also being presented in New York. To celebrate all of these, the pride concert, Celebrating Stonewall, featured guest choruses - Seattle Men's Chorus and Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles - for two performances at Carnegie Hall on June 22 and 23, 1994. Each guest chorus presented a program on one of the evenings, and all three choruses performed a new commissioned worked, Flashpoint/Stonewall by Roger Bourland and John Hall.

Season Fifteen - 1994-1995

A Family Holiday was the first concert of the season at Carnegie Hall on December 20 and 21, 1994 and featured the talents of singing sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway. The evening was a celebration of the diversity of the Chorus family and their backgrounds, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. The spring concert saw another star-studded salute. This time to the opera world. Hosted by Terrence McNally, Operantics: Divas, Dueling Tenors and other Grand Musical Diversions! was presented at Carnegie Hall on March 26, 1995. Among the guest artists performing were Constance Hauman, Roberta Peters, Benita Valente, Emily Golden, Frederica von Stade, Jerry Hadley, Kurt Ollmann and Arthur Woodley. A new work from Assistant Music Director Dean X Johnson, Song of Martina: The Life of Martina Navratilova, featured Lea DeLaria with Ann Harada among the cast. The pride concert on June 22 was held at Carnegie Hall. Out with Our Friends featured appearances from The Stonewall Chorale and Lavender Light. Soprano Harolyn Blackwell was also present to perform Ricky Ian Gordon's commissioned piece Love, My Sweet Rain. The Chorus also presented another commissioned piece from composer Tom Wilson Weinberg titled Sixty Years with Bruhs and Gean. A mini-musical, this piece told the true story of one of New York's oldest gay couples, Bruhs Mero and Gean Harwood.

Season Sixteen - 1995-1996

Two performances of Deck the Hall were held at Carnegie Hall on December 19 and 20, 1995. Cyndi Lauper was the guest for this concert. The spring concert was held on March 21, 1996 also at Carnegie Hall. With a Song in Our Heart fwas a salute to the music of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and featured Ann Hampton Callaway a guest artist. The pride concert returned to Alice Tully Hall on June 26 and 27, 1996. Out with Our Friends featured Lavender Light on the 26th and Anna Crusis Women's Chorus and Schola Cantorosa were the guests on June 27.

Season Seventeen - 1996-1997

The holiday concert for the season was A Christmas Garland at Carnegie Hall and featured Broadway star Faith Prince as guest artist. March 16, 1997 was the spring concert at Carnegie Hall. A musical tribute to composer Jerry Herman, Jerry's Boys featured guest appearances by Laurie Beechman, George Dvorsky, Beth Fowler, Debbie Gravitte, The Imperial Court of New York, Eartha Kitt, Bebe Neuwirth and Lee Roy Reams. Carol Channing made a special appearance, and Jerry Herman took to the piano for the finale. The pride concert was on June 23, 1997 at Carnegie Hall. The program for the evening featured the New York premiere of Robert Seeley's Naked Man, a moving portrait of being gay.

Season Eighteen - 1997-1998

The holiday concert, Near to Us Once More, featured a return of Holly Near to the Carnegie Hall stage with the Chorus on December 18 and 19, 1997. The spring concert was a tribute to composer George Gershwin on his 100th birthday. The Man I Love featured guest appearances by John Bayless, Debbie Gravitte, Mimi Hines, Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Indira Mahajan, Karen Mason, Alice Ripley, Thos Shipley, Emily Skinner, and KT Sullivan. The concert was held at Avery Fisher Hall on March 29, 1998. Look to the Rainbow was the pride concert at Carnegie Hall on June 22, 1998. It was the farewell concert for Music Director Gary Miller. Guest appearances from Ann Hampton Callaway, Debbie Gravitte, Lavender Light and Roberta Peters performed on the program.

Season Nineteen - 1998-1999

The first concert of new Music Director Barry Oliver was the holiday concert, Seasons of the Heart, at Carnegie Hall on December 21, 1998. The world premiere of a new commissioned work, David Hurd's There is a Budding Morrow in Midnight, was among the pieces presented. The spring concert was held at Carnegie Hall on March 15, 1999. The evening was a tribute to the music of Cole Porter. Swellegant Elegance featured appearances by Harvey Fierstein and Kristin Chenoweth. Common Ground was the June 17, 1999 pride concert and featured the appearance of guest chorus Sound Circle, a women's chorus from Boulder, Colorado.

Season Twenty - 1999-2000

December 22, 1999 was the holiday concert at Carnegie Hall. Comfort and Joy: Songs for a Midwinter's Eve featured the return appearance of soprano Indira Mahajan. The spring concert was also at Carnegie Hall on March 27, 2000. Old Friends - A Part of Our Lives featured appearances by Faith Esham, Gean Harwood, KT Sullivan, Alton Fitzgerald White and BD Wong. There was also a return appearance from The Imperial Court of New York. The June concert was turned into a special Gala evening to celebrate 20 years of the Chorus. Held at Carnegie Hall on June 12, 2000 featured a special guest appearance from Tony Award-winning actress Betty Buckley. The main portion of the program featured a major commissioned work from Broadway composer Larry Grossman and lyricist Michael Korie. Gay Century Songbook was a song cycle depicting gay life through song during the 20th century. Guests for the evening included Joel Grey, John McMartin, Joyce Castle and Theodora Middleton. A benefit was held after the concert at the Russian Tea Room next to Carnegie Hall.

Season Twenty One - 2000-2001

The holiday concert was on December 5, 2000 at Carnegie Hall. Ring in the Season featured the talents of the Westminster Concert Bell Choir. A new commission, Ringing in the Season, from composer James Bassi was specifically written for this concert and featured the Bell Choir. The spring concert was also held at Carnegie Hall on April 2, 2001. 2001: A Choral Odyssey featured the appearance of two gay choruses. After appearances in both Washington, D.C. and Boston, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C. and the Boston Gay Men's Chorus joined with the New York Gay Men's Chorus to present an evening of choral music in New York. Each concert was featured in their own set before appearing together for Stephen Flaherty's With Voices Raised. A commissioned piece for the combined choruses, Everyone Sang by Eric Helmuth, opened the concert with this world premiere of this work. NYCGMC also presented world premieres of Freedom by Dan Locklair and Andrew Lippa's Doo, Doo, Doo. The pride concert was held on June 18, 2001 at Carnegie Hall. Diversity featured the appearance of guest chorus, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and also the return of Kristin Chenoweth. NYCGMC presented another new commission, Sing Out from composer Alex Rybeck.

Season Twenty Two - 2001-2002

This season saw the addition of the third Music Director for the Chorus with the addition of Jeffrey Maynard. The first concert of the season was the holiday concert held at Carnegie Hall on December 20, 2001. Holiday Flourish featured appearances by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and Sam Harris. March 18, 2002 was the spring concert at Carnegie Hall. We are Family was an evening celebrating the music of the 70s. Big hair, bell bottoms, and disco music were all part of the evening. The pride concert, this year, was held on June 15, 2002 at Carnegie Hall. Author Armistead Maupin was the special guest of the evening as he narrated Music for Michael Mouse. The evening told the story of Maupin's lead character of his Tales of the City series of books, Michael Tolliver.

Season Twenty Three - 2002-2003

The holiday concert this season was Holiday Homecoming held at Carnegie Hall on December 17, 2002. The evening was recorded live foe the seventh Chorus recording. Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center was the setting for the spring concert on March 10, 2003. Viva la Diva! featured guest artists Jimmy James, Debby Lennon, Jenifer Lewis, Indra Thomas, and Terri White. The evening featured the choral premiere of You Can't Stop the Beat from the Broadway hit musical Hairspray. The June 18, 2003 pride concert was held at Carnegie Hall. Pride for All Ages featured the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Band and the debut of the Youth Pride Chorus. The major work of the evening was a mini-musical, Oliver Button Is a Sissy, narrated by Olympic diver Greg Louganis. Through a mini-drama and music the piece told the story of a small boy who feels different. The young people of the Youth Pride Chorus made an impressive debut for these GLBT youth between 13 and 21 years of age.

Season Twenty Four - 2003-2004

The holiday concert for the new season was Twisted Holiday at Carnegie Hall on December 12, 2003. The Youth Pride Chorus made another appearance with the Chorus on the Carnegie stage. The spring concert featured a new commissioned work. Sage Cycle was a song cycle telling the stories of the older generation. A Great Generation was held at Avery Fisher Hall on March 8, 2004 and also featured music from the big band era. To finish the season, the Chorus presented a concert devoted to the music of Broadway. Out on Broadway arranged by Alex Rybeck brought together those songs of importance to being gay from the Broadway stage. Terrence McNally wrote the book for the evening tying the songs together. Special guest was Steven Brinberg as his alter-ego, Barbra Streisand.

Season Twenty Five - 2004-2005

The 25th Anniversary season began with the holiday concert, Silver Bells at Carnegie Hall on December 16, 2004. The Ensemble du Monde provided the accompaniment for the evening, with the return of the Westminster Concert Bell Choir and opera soprano Deborah Voigt. A highlight of the evening was Ms. Voigt's rendition of James Bassi's arrangement of O Holy Night and Frederick Silver's Twelve Days After Christmas. The spring concert was a celebration of the music of the 80s. Absolutely 80s was held at Skirball Center at NYU for two performances on March 18 and 19, 2005. The pride concert was a celebration of the 25th Anniversary and also held at Skirball Center at NYU on June 17 and 18, 2004. Season of Pride featured favorite numbers from the previous 25 seasons and also an appearance by the Youth Pride Chorus.

Season Twenty Six - 2005-2006

Gary Miller returned for the season and shared the conducting duties with Casey J. Hayes as Music Directors for the various concerts. The holiday concert was at Carnegie Hall on December 14, 2005. Holiday Spectacular featured many holiday favorites and special guest for the evening was the incomparable Elaine Stritch. Gary Miller conducting this concert and presented some of his favorites both from the past and present with friends represented, old and new. The spring concert brought us back to the movies. You Oughta Be in Pictures was presented at Avery Fisher Hall and conducted by Casey J. Hayes. The concert on April 8, 2006, featured Joan Rivers and Anita Gillette as hosts for the evening, with special guests Claudia Waite and Karen Ziemba presenting numbers during the evening of movie music. The pride concert was also presented at Avery Fisher Hall. Our Journey was presented on June 14, 2006, and divided into two parts. The first half was conducted by Casey J. Hayes and presented songs expressing the gay experience. The second half was conducted by Gary Miller and was the New York premiere of Robert Seeley's major piece Metamorphosis which detailed the story of a gay man from birth to maturity. Unique to this program was the presence of dance company Jennifer Muller/The Works that presented the story in dance to the accompaniment of the Chorus singing the song cycle. Kevin Chamberlin also made a special appearance in the first half of the concert.

Season Twenty Seven - 2006-2007

Another season led by Gary Miller and Casey J. Hayes as the Chorus continued its search of a new Music Director. Holiday Spectacular was back at Carnegie Hall on December 11, 2006, conducted by Gary Miller. The evening featured the return of former Music Director Barry Oliver as guest organist and also impersonator Charles Busch. Michael McElroy from the Broadway stage also made an appearance, as did the Youth Pride Chorus. The spring concert moved to Merkin Concert Hall for two performances on March 12 and 13, 2007. Classically NYCGMC was conducted by Casey J. Hayes and presented an evening of classical favorites. Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Kathryn Day was the guest for the evening performing Franz Schubert's Standchen and also featured in Carl Orff's Images of Carmina Burana. The evening was captured live on the eighth Chorus recording. The final concert of the season was held at The Nokia Theatre in Times Square on June 18, 2007. Take the A Train was an evening devoted to the music of gay composer Billy Strayhorn. The music for the evening was commissioned with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles from Alan Broadbent. The evening was written and directed by Joanna Gleason and featured guest artists Darius deHaas and Judy Blazer.

Season Twenty Eight - 2007-2008

New Artistic Director Dr. Charles Beale led his first concert at Carnegie Hall on December 11, 2007. The annual Holiday Spectacular featured guest artists Kelli O'Hara, baritone Robert Osborne, and the Third Street Music School Settlement Children's Choir. The evening was under the stage direction of Broadway actress Joanna Gleason. The spring concert was a guest performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on May 17, 2008. The program featured some new songs along with a reprise of the Billy Strayhorn concert from the previous season, Take the A Train. The pride concert was held at Haft Auditorium at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York on June 4 and 5, 2008. Vibrate was a celebration of song for pride with performances by guests Our Lady J and the Youth Pride Chorus.

Season Twenty Nine - 2008-2009

December 9, 2008 was the annual Holiday Spectacular at Carnegie Hall, Celebrate Me Home. This year featured guest appearances from the cast of [title of show] - Jeff Bowen, Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff. The concert was produced in collaboration with two local organizations that focus on home and family - PFLAG and Ali Forney Center. The evening was again staged by Joanna Gleason. The spring concert was the first Big Gay Sing held at NYU Skirball Center on March 27, 2009. The evening was hosted by Scott Nevins and the special guest was Andrea McArdle. The evening featured pop and show tunes with production numbers and an audience sing-along. For pride this year the Chorus decided to do more outreach events in the community with performances for Bronx Pride, Staten Island Pride, Queens Pride, Brooklyn Pride as well as some corporate pride events and an Equality concert at St. John the Divine. The month culminated in the traditional annual Pride March down Fifth Avenue.

Season Thirty - 2009-2010

The holiday concert for this season moved to The Town Hall from Carnegie Hall. The smaller venue lent itself well to the Chorus sound and also enabled the Chorus to do two performances. Together at Town Hall was on December 20, 2009 and featured guest appearance by Victoria Clark. The spring concert saw the return to NYU Skirball Center with Big Gay Sing 2 for two performances on March 25 and 26, 2010. The evening was again hosted by Scott Nevins and this year's special guest was Petula Clark. The pride concert was also hosted at NYU Skirball Center on June 30, 2010. High was an devoted to the message of the problems of addiction within the LGBT community, specifically with crystal meth. The featured piece of the evening was a song cycle, Through a Glass Darkly which acted out the effects of addiction in a relationship. The evening also presented a conversation with community organizations to discuss the issues of addiction and to show there was hope.

Season Thirty One - 2010-2011

Back at The Town Hall for the holiday concert on December 19, 2010 for two performances, Sing Your Brass Off! featured a brass ensemble and guest artist Liz Callaway. The spring concert was Big Gay Sing 3D at NYU Skirball Center on March 25 and 26, 2011. This year's rendition featured a fantasy theme with the finale including a marriage of two guys. It was the Chorus' statement in the fight for marriage equality. The evening was hosted by Broadway star Christopher Sieber. The pride concert was another dramatic presentation of a mission theme. This year, (Accentuate the) Positive dealt with the lives of those living with HIV and AIDS. Held at NYU Skirball Center on June 29, 2011 the evening featured Fredi Walker-Browne and Mollie Stone. Local community partners in the AIDS and healthcare sectors also took part in a discussion of the current trends in HIV care.

Season Thirty Two - 2011-2012

December 18, 2011 was the annual holiday concert at The Town Hall. Holiday House of Love was a gospel based evening of holiday fare with guest appearances from Lillias White and Bishop V. Gene Robinson. Big Gay Sing 4 returned to NYU Skirball Center on March 16 and 17, 2012. The evening was hosted by comedian Jackie Hoffman. Among the features was a double cast presentation of the Wizard of Oz with the classic and modern Wiz casts battling for dominance. The pride concert, also at NYU Skirball Center, was on June 27, 2012. The theme this season was What Now(?)!. Marriage equality had come to New York, so where do we as a community go from here? The evening was hosted by activist and commentator Joan Garry and featured the guest appearance of Julia Murney.

Season Thirty Three - 2012-2013

An American Holiday was the opening concert for the season at The Town Hall on December 16, 2012 for two performances. Singing legend Judy Collins was the special guest for the evening of holiday favorites. This concert also presented the world premiere of A. Lawton Simon's The American Dream with words by Dr. Martin Luther King and a commissioned work from Chorus accompanist Aaron Dai, You Yourself Must Change It with words by poet Adrienne Rich. Big Gay Sing 5 was a salute to Broadway. Held at NYU Skirball Center on March 15 and 16, 2013, the evening was hosted by Jim Caruso and featured the multi-talented impressions from Christina Bianco. The pride concert also had an American theme, America the Beautiful was held at NYU Skirball Center on June 15, 2013 and focused on the way gays and lesbians have been treated by country, church and family.

Season Thirty Four - 2013-2014

What a Wonderful World was a departure holiday concert. Held at The Town Hall on December 15, 2013 for two performances, the evening had messages of unity from gay choruses from around the world through video presentations. Traditions from China, Mexico, Australia and Japan were interspersed with traditional holiday songs. Big Gay Sing 6 was back at NYU Skirball Center on March 14 and 15, 2014. Dubbed, Club Night Out, the evening was devoted to club music and featured guest music legend Martha Wash. The pride concert was the first time all four LGBT choral organizations in New York City had performed on the same program. Held at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Four Choirs and a Cathedral was held on May 31, 2014 and featured the Stonewall Chorale, Empire City Men's Chorus and Lavender Light as guests of the Chorus. Each chorus presented a sample program and there were also numbers performed by all the choruses together throughout the cathedral.

Season Thirty Five - 2014-2015

The 35th anniversary season saw an expanded program. The holiday concert moved to NYU Skirball Center for three performances on December 19, 20 and 12, 2014. The evening, Home for the Holidays! featured a mini-musical dramatic presentation with holiday songs telling the story of a young gay man coming out on Christmas Eve and journeying to New York City. The evening also presented guest star Carolee Carmello in the production. Big Gay 7 was dedicated to Movie Mania and held for three performances at NYU Skirball Center on March 20, 21, and 22, 2015. The evening was hosted by special guest Bruce Vilanch who added his own humor and backstory to many of the pieces presented during the evening. The final production of the season was on June 13, 2015 and held at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Generation Y was a look at the current generation of young gays, and also featured the premiere of Tyler's Suite. The new commissioned work was a song cycle featuring works by various composers and coordinated by Stephen Schwartz as it told the tale of Tyler Clementi, the New Jersey college freshman who committed suicide after being cyber bullied by his roommate. The evening also featured the talented Ann Hampton Callaway.

Music Directors/Artistic DirectorsEdit

There have been five music directors of the Chorus in its history.

  • Gary Miller, 1980-1998[10]
  • Barry Oliver, 1998-2001
  • Jeffrey Maynard, 2001-2005
  • Gary Miller, Casey J. Hayes, co-directors, 2005-2007
  • Dr. Charles Beale, 2007–present


The Chorus has produced eight recordings. The first two recordings were the first ever given to a gay chorus by a major label. They were on the Pro Arte label. The third and fourth recordings were on the Virgin Classics label. The fifth, seventh and eighth were independently produced by the Chorus. The sixth recording was on the DRG label.

  • Festival of Song, 1984
  • New York, New York, 1984
  • Christmas Comes Anew, 1991
  • Love Lives On, 1991
  • Look to the Rainbow, 1998
  • Gay Century Songbook, 2000
  • Holiday Homecoming, 2002, recorded Live at Carnegie Hall
  • Classically NYCGMC, 2007, recorded at Merkin Hall

Notable guest artistsEdit

Many notable entertainers and ensembles have performed with the NYCGMC as guest artists or hosted NYCGMC concerts, including the following:


  1. ^ a b Allen Hughes (June 27, 1981). "Concert: Gay Men's Chorus Directed By Gary Miller". The New York Times. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Edward Rothstein (September 13, 1983). "Concert: 'First Gay Choral Festival'". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Gay Men's Chorus Wins Right To Use Name In S.J.", San Jose Mercury News, January 29, 1986
  5. ^ Stephen Holden (November 4, 1985). "AIDS Benefit Show At The Met Opera". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Jennifer Dunning (December 23, 1985). "STAGE: 'SPECTACULAR,' A DOWNTOWN BENEFIT". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c Bernard Holland (June 30, 1985). "Concert: Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Theodore W. Libbey (December 10, 1981). "Music: Christmas Songs By The Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ a b Bernard Holland (June 28, 1987). "Concert: New York City Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Joyce Wadler (June 25, 1998). Public Lives A Baton Is Passed. The New York Times. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Tribute to Broadway". The New York Times. March 23, 1984. 
  12. ^ Bernard Holland (June 26, 1995). "In Performance; Classical Music". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ a b c d Stephen Holden (April 6, 1985). "Music: A Salute To Broadway". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Hark! The Angels Sing, and the Carolers Too". The New York Times. December 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c Lawrence Lerner (July 19–25, 2006). "In a chorus of their own, gay youth find their voice". The Villager. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Michael Portantiere (December 26, 2001). "Chorus of Approval". 
  17. ^ "SEASONAL SOUNDS. A December to Remember", Newsday, December 5, 1986
  18. ^ Marcia Biederman (June 11, 2000). "Journey to an Overlooked Past". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Stars and Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. March 9, 1995. 
  20. ^ "A love song to Jerry Herman", Journal News, April 3, 2003
  21. ^ "Marilyn Horne and Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. January 7, 1990. 
  22. ^ "The Gay Men's Chorus Sings For A Cause", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 1988
  23. ^ Morgan Allen (16 December 2005). "PHOTO CALL: Elaine Stritch Takes the Stage with the New York City Gay Men's Chorus". Playbill. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. 
  24. ^ James Barron (December 18, 2001). "Boldfaces". The New York Times. 
  25. ^ Anthony Tommasini (December 20, 2004). "Poignancy's Shadow Hovers Over Echoes of Holiday Cheer". The New York Times. 

External linksEdit