The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (GMCSF) recently announced its 2018-19 season, kicking off with traditional holiday fare and culminating with the world premiere of a work commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
“Up Rise Sing! A Tribute to Stonewall and a Vision of Peace and Equality,” features performances by the 150-voice chorus at several South Florida venues and diverse musical programs.
“As I was researching the history of the Stonewall riots, ‘Up Rise Sing!’ became a clever play on the word ‘uprising,’” explained artistic director Harold Dioquino, who is in his third season leading the chorus.
The season opens with two holiday programs: “The Heart of the Holidays” on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, a chorus tradition. On Sunday, Dec. 16, the chorus will be joined by Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe-nominated artist Matthew Morrison (“Glee,” “Neverland” on Broadway) at the Hard Rock Event Center at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
Long before planning for the concert formally began, Dioquino envisioned Morrison as the perfect guest artist for that holiday event.
“It’s sort of like a dream come true,” Dioquino admitted. “Matthew is such a talented performer and he has quite a following from ‘Glee.’ I know the chorus is going to enjoy working with him. The audience will love him, too.”
“From the Heavenly to the Divine,” March 22-23 at the Sunshine Cathedral, promises to be a “sensational evening of music ranging from the glorious to the outrageous.”
“We’ll begin with ‘Requiem of Solace’ by young Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, but it will not be just a concert performance. We’re planning a dramatic production with staging and lighting,” Dioquino said. “The second half [of the concert] will be lighter, but also divine in a different way.”
Soloists and small ensembles from the chorus will be featured on April 27 in “Proud Mary 2,” a sequel cabaret performance featuring favorites from female musical icons.
“Last year’s concert was so successful, we decided to do it again,” he said. “We had so many songs that we really wanted to sing last year, but couldn’t get them all in.”
The chorus concludes the season at the new Lauderhill Performing Arts Center on June 22 with “Up Rise Sing!” GMCSF will be joined by the Original Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus and the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus for the southeastern premiere of “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall 50,” a new work paying tribute to the Greenwich Village riots that would mark the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
This eight-movement work, co-commissioned by 24 LGBTQ choruses from across the country, is classical in nature, but will also feature musical theater, jazz and other popular styles, with women and other minority composers central to the project.
“This will be the first time all three choruses have performed together,” Dioquino observed. “We’re very excited and this is the perfect occasion to bring us all together.”
Tickets and concert information will be available online beginning Sept. 21 at GMCSF.org.