New York City Gay Men's Chorus
The New York City Gay Men's Chorus (NYCGMC) was founded in August 1980 under the leadership of conductor Gary Miller. 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. 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."
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 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 festival featured two world premieres: Libby Larsen's Everyone Sang and Ned Rorem's Whitman Cantata. 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.
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. The chorus has continued to perform regularly in benefits for a variety of organizations and causes, including arts education funding for New York schools.
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. 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." As of 2011 the NYCGMC has commissioned more than 100 choral works, including Conrad Susa's The Chanticleer's Carol (1981), Stuart Raleigh's Words for the Future (1985), David Conte's Invocation and Dance (1987), and Frank Ferko's Humoresques (1987).
European Concert Tours
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 their 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.
|Season||Holiday Concert||Spring Concert||Pride Concert|
|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||Operatincs||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|
|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|
Notable guest artists
Many notable entertainers and ensembles have performed with the NYCGMC as guest artists or hosted NYCGMC concerts, including the following:
- Allen Hughes (June 27, 1981). "Concert: Gay Men's Chorus Directed By Gary Miller". The New York Times.
- Edward Rothstein (September 13, 1983). "Concert: 'First Gay Choral Festival'". The New York Times.
- "Gay Men's Chorus Wins Right To Use Name In S.J.", San Jose Mercury News, January 29, 1986
- Stephen Holden (November 4, 1985). "AIDS Benefit Show At The Met Opera". The New York Times.
- Jennifer Dunning (December 23, 1985). "STAGE: 'SPECTACULAR,' A DOWNTOWN BENEFIT". The New York Times.
- Bernard Holland (June 30, 1985). "Concert: Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times.
- Theodore W. Libbey (December 10, 1981). "Music: Christmas Songs By The Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times.
- Bernard Holland (June 28, 1987). "Concert: New York City Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times.
- "Tribute to Broadway". The New York Times. March 23, 1984.
- Bernard Holland (June 26, 1995). "In Performance; Classical Music". The New York Times.
- Stephen Holden (April 6, 1985). "Music: A Salute To Broadway". The New York Times.
- Lawrence Lerner (July 19–25, 2006). "In a chorus of their own, gay youth find their voice". The Villager.
- Michael Portantiere (December 26, 2001). "Chorus of Approval". www.theatermania.com.
- "SEASONAL SOUNDS. A December to Remember", Newsday, December 5, 1986
- Marcia Biederman (June 11, 2000). "Journey to an Overlooked Past". The New York Times.
- "Stars and Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. March 9, 1995.
- "A love song to Jerry Herman", Journal News, April 3, 2003
- "Marilyn Horne and Gay Men's Chorus". The New York Times. January 7, 1990.
- "The Gay Men's Chorus Sings For A Cause", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 1988
- Morgan Allen (16 December 2005). "PHOTO CALL: Elaine Stritch Takes the Stage with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus". Playbill.
- James Barron (December 18, 2001). "Boldfaces". The New York Times.