Earlier this year, the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida named Harold G. Dioquino artistic director of the 175-voice critically-acclaimed ensemble. Born and trained in the Philippines, Dioquino had served for five years as associate artistic director and then one season as interim artistic director while the chorus initiated a nationwide search. Mirror spoke with Dioquino about the experience and his vision for the chorus:
ON THE CONTINUING RELEVANCE OF GAY MEN’S CHORUSES
Besides performing great music, gay choruses around the world demonstrate acceptance to the young and scared gay person. In fact, to some members of the chorus, we’re the only family they’ve got.
ON THE NATIONAL SEARCH PROCESS
The audition and interview process were intense. In fact, it was grueling because I was acting as the interim conductor at the same time and my major concern was the task of creating three concert programs a few weeks before the season started. I really didn’t expect to get the job, especially after seeing the qualifications of the other candidates on audition day.
ON HIS FIRST SEASON AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
I’m a firm believer of quality over quantity. We started (this season) by tightening the audition process, requiring our current members to undergo vocal evaluations and musical assessments so we can determine best placement and how to support our members with individual vocal coaching.
ON HIS SINGERS
Their hard work and dedication is very inspiring but the brotherhood and love that we all share for each other is deeply appreciated. That might sound corny but there’s a strong bond in a gay chorus.