Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus

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Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus
AGMC New Logo.png
Background information
Also known asAGMC
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, United States
GenresChoral, Broadway, Classical, Jazz, Popular
Occupation(s)Men's Chorus
Instruments125 voices
Years active1981–present
Associated actsPanache (small select ensemble)
Websitewww.agmchorus.org
MembersArtistic Director
Donald Milton, III
Chairman-Board of Directors
John Stegall
Executive Director
Eve Campbell
Chorus Membership President
Brandon Bush
Chorus Membership President-Elect
Matt Mitchell
Principal Accompanist
Eric Baumgartner
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, along with the Atlanta Women's Chorus, are managed under their parent organization, Voices of Note.

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 is a member of the international Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA), and it actively participates in collaborative performances and educational efforts with GALA 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.

History[edit]

In August 1981, a time when the gay-rights movement was just gaining momentum, founding Artistic Director Jeffrey D. McIntyre and 45 singers came together to form something quite new, especially in the South — a singing group. 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.

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 and performed in every festival since 1989, including Seattle, Washington, in 1989; Denver, Colorado, in 1992; Tampa, Florida, in 1996; San Jose, California, in 2000; Montreal, Québec, in 2004, Miami, Florida, in 2008, and Denver, Colorado, in 2012 and 2016.

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[2] of Charlotte, North Carolina in 1993, the Gateway Men's Chorus of 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 of 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 Transgender Conference[9] 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[10] 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 LGBT 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.[2] 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 to 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 and other local dignitaries 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 Directors[edit]

Current Artistic Director[edit]

Donald Milton, III is the AGMC's current Artistic Director. He also serves as the full time Director of Music[3] at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA).

Previous Artistic Directors[11][edit]

  • Jeffrey D. McIntyre, Founding Artistic Director, 1981 - 1984 and 1991 - 1994, Interim Artistic Director, 2006-2007
  • Neil Gregory, 1984 - 1987
  • Richard D. Rechtin, 1988 - 1990
  • David A. Puckett, 1995 - 1999
  • Gary W. Arnold, 1999 - 2000
  • Leslie J. Blackwell, 2000 - 2006[4]
  • Kevin Robison, first Full-Time Artistic Director, 2007 - 2017[5]

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.
  2. ^ "Big moments: Gay chorus reflects on 30 years" Project Q, 11/12/2010
  3. ^ "UUCA Staff". Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. UUCA. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ "About Us". Kennesaw State University Community & Alumni Choir. KSUCAC. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  5. ^ Powers, Sean (Nov 28, 2017). "Artistic Director Of Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus Stepping Down". GBP News. Georgia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 26 November 2018. Next month, a major force within the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus steps down from his post. After 10 years, Kevin Robison will leave the chorus as its artistic director.