New York City Gay Men's Chorus

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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.


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.[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 festival 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 Tours[edit]

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.

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 their performance in London, the Chorus traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to take part in the European LGBT Choral Festival, Various Voices. The Chorus performed 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 was 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 History[edit]

Season Holiday Concert Spring Concert Pride Concert
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

Music Directors/Artistic Directors[edit]

There have been five music directors of the Chorus in its 35 years. 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, 2007-2015


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.

Notable guest artists[edit]

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. 
  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. 

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