Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus

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Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus
AGMC New Logo.png
Background information
Also known as AGMC
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres Choral, Broadway, Classical, Jazz, Popular
Occupation(s) Men's Chorus
Instruments 125 voices
Years active 1981–present
Associated acts Panache (small select ensemble)
Website www.agmchorus.org
Members Artistic Director
Kevin Robison
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Eric Klem
Executive Director
Catherine Pfitzer
President
Scott Hunt
Principal Accompanist
Robert Strickland
Assistant Conductor
David G. Artadi
Vocal Coach
T. N. Retif, DMA

The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus (AGMC) is a nonprofit performing arts organization based in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). The AGMC's traditional concert season includes a Holiday Concert in early December at The Cathedral of St. Phillip in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, a Spring Concert in late April, and a Pride Concert in June. The AGMC is also a strong presence in the Atlanta LGBTQ Community due to their involvement in various charitable organizations, cultural events and the annual Atlanta Gay Pride Parade.

One of the world’s longest-running gay choruses, the AGMC has a well-earned reputation for musical leadership and excellence. It is a member of the international Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA), and it actively participates in collaborative performances and educational efforts with their member choruses worldwide. The AGMC is also a member of Chorus America, an organization dedicated to the expansion of the choral movement in North America.

Mission[edit]

The Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus at the Cathedral of Saint Philip in Atlanta, GA.

The AGMC presents entertaining and thought-provoking performances that appeal to a diverse audience, create a positive image of the LGBTQ community, and promote equality for all persons.

History[edit]

In August 1981, a time when the gay-rights movement was just gaining momentum, founding Artistic Director Jeffrey D. McIntyre and 45 talented and brave singers came together to form something quite new, especially in the South — a singing group where members would be proud not only of the quality of what they were singing, but of the positive image and message they were portraying. Auditions were held that month and the first rehearsal was held in September with a charter membership of 45 singers. By the time the newly formed AGMC gave its premier performance at First Metropolitan Community Church on North Highland Avenue on October 18, membership had increased to 48. More than 300 people attended. Six weeks later, the AGMC presented its first Holiday Concert, Music of the Season, featuring ten decidedly Christmas songs, on November 29, 1981, at Grant Park United Methodist Church.

For over 30 years, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus has been a voice for diversity and inclusiveness, presenting high-quality musical entertainment that positively represents the gay community while serving the entire community at large.

The AGMC was chartered in the U.S. state of Georgia as a domestic nonprofit organization on March 3, 1982, and was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service in December 1982. The AGMC joined the Gay And Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), an international organization of gay, lesbian and mixed choruses, on September 2, 1984. GALA has more than 185 member choruses with 10,000+ active members in 11 countries and hosts an international choral festival every four years (every three years in the 1980s). The AGMC has attended all but the first two, including Seattle, Washington, in 1989; Denver, Colorado, in 1992; Tampa, Florida, in 1996; San Jose, California, in 2000; Montreal, Québec, in 2004 and Miami, Florida, in 2008.

In 1984, the AGMC was the first gay organization to have a float in WSB-TV’s annual Independence Day Salute 2 America Parade, and was included again in 1985. In 1994, the AGMC commissioned its first major work, Memento mori: an AIDS requiem by James Adler, which was world-premiered in 1996. In 1997 and again in 1998, the AGMC presented concerts at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Midtown Atlanta.

The AGMC has performed joint concerts with several other GALA choruses, including the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus [1] in the late 1980s, One Voice (Charlotte, North Carolina)[2] in 1993, the Gateway Men’s Chorus (St. Louis, Missouri)[3] in 1994, le Choeur International Gai de Paris (the International Gay Men’s Chorus of Paris, France)[4] in 1996, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C.[5], in 1999, Turtle Creek Chorale (Dallas, Texas)[6] in 2003, and several performances over the years with the Atlanta Feminist Women’s Chorus (AFWC)[7].

The AGMC has also performed joint concerts with several special guests, including the Derivative Duo (Seattle, Washington) in 1995, Dr. Maya Angelou in 1998, and the Atlanta Ballet in 1999. For many years, the AGMC was a regular performer in the annual Heartstrings fundraiser for AIDS [8], St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church’s annual Olde English Festival and, from 1996 to 1998, was also a featured performer at First Night Atlanta. The AGMC was the featured entertainment at the annual Southern Comfort Conference for the transgendered community for many years. In 2000, the AGMC presented a benefit concert for the Birmingham AIDS Network in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2001, the AGMC, AFWC and Atlanta Freedom Marching Band [9] hosted a benefit concert for the victims and survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. In 2002, the AGMC performed at the post-inaugural reception for City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, the first time any GLBT organization had participated in such an event.

In 2001, a quartet from the AGMC performed the national anthem at an Atlanta Braves home game,[1] and in 2002, the entire chorus returned to do the same. Mayor Shirley Franklin issued a proclamation declaring that day, June 5, 2002, as "Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus Day" in the City of Atlanta. The AGMC is the only openly gay performing arts organization to perform the national anthem at an Atlanta Braves game.

On December 20, 2013, the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus became the first openly gay group to be invited and perform at the Georgia State Capitol building. The performance was coordinated by Artistic Director Kevin Robison and Georgia State Rep. Karla Drenner. Ms. Drenner also attended the performance.

On March 12, 2014, the Georgia House of Representatives passed Resolution HR 1787 commending the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus for its legacy and hard work. Representative Karla Drenner championed the Resolution through the House. The Resolution passed the House on the very day that the AGMC performed in the Rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol.

Artistic Director[edit]

Kevin Robison, AGMC Artistic Director

Kevin Robison joined the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus for its 2007-08 season as its first full-time artistic director. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of North Alabama and a Master of Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Nevada, Kevin moved to Southern California where he served as Resident Director of Music for the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and on the faculties of Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal-Poly Pomona, and Cal-State Fullerton. For three years he served as assistant conductor of Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and artistic director of the South Coast Chorale in Long Beach.

Kevin has been actively involved with GALA Choruses (the international association of gay and lesbian choruses) for nearly a decade and has become one of its most sought-after composers and arrangers. Published by Hal Leonard and Oxford University Press, Kevin has received commissions from some of the leading choruses in the nation, including the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Seattle Men’s Chorus, Turtle Creek Chorale, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. Kevin’s arrangements have been sung on stage by Malcolm Gets, Jenifer Lewis, Lily Tomlin, Joanna Gleason, Susan Egan and many others. He has also collaborated on productions with Del Shores (of Sordid Lives fame), Kate Clinton, and Miss Coco Peru. Much of his music for male voices has been performed and/or recorded by Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, including his tribute to Kander and Ebb, which received an OutMusic Award nomination for best new CD in 2005.

Kevin is an accomplished pianist, published author, composer, arranger and a specialist in singing for actors. With roots in Alabama and Virginia, Kevin is thrilled to be back in the South and committing his full-time energy to the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. In November 2011, Kevin was included as a member of Fenuxe Magazine’s Fenuxe 50, recognizing his laudable contributions to Atlanta’s arts and LGBT communities.

Discography[edit]

  • The AGMC recorded three tracks for Gerald L. Stacy’s CD, In Remembrance of Love, in 1997, including "Commencement" by Shelly Jackson, "Prayer for the Children" by Kurt Bestor, and "Irish Blessing," arranged by Robert Seeley. "Prayer for the Children" was performed by the AGMC's small ensemble, Panache; David A. Puckett, Artistic Director. Recorded and produced by Allgood Productions, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Carols, Revels and Holiday Cheer (1998)—a live recording of the AGMC's 1997 Holiday Concert at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Philip; David A. Puckett, Artistic Director. Recorded and produced by DiverseCity Records, Austell, Georgia.
  • Passions (2002)—a live recording of the AGMC's 2001 Spring Concert at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church; Leslie J. Blackwell, Artistic Director. Recorded and produced by Gil Moor & Bill Brown, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • A Real Family Holiday (2004)—a studio recording of music from the AGMC's 2003 Holiday Concert; Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell, Artistic Director. Recorded by Allgood Productions, Atlanta, Georgia; produced by Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell.
  • Live at the Cathedral (2004)—a live recording of the AGMC's 2004 Holiday Concert at The Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Philip; Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell, Artistic Director. Recorded and produced by Allgood Productions, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • And On Earth, Peace (2012)-a live recording of various selections from the AGMC's Holiday Concerts at the Cathedral of St. Phillip from 2008-2011. Kevin Robison, Artistic Director. Recorded by RM Audio, Atlanta, Georgia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Braves' Decision Upsets Many Fans". The Miami Herald. 2001-08-09. The Atlanta Braves received hundreds of written and telephone complaints for selling a block of tickets to a group leading Atlanta's bid for the 2006 Gay Games.