Fa-La-La: Gay Choruses Sing Songs of the Season

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The holidays wouldn’t be complete without joyous music. Fortunately, South Florida boasts several fine gay men’s choruses that usher in the season with the festive sounds of Christmas and Hanukah. Here’s a look at what choruses in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties have planned for audiences this year:

Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus

Seasonal displays are up and, even though South Florida doesn’t get snow, the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus (FLGMC) aims to get the holidays in full swing. To kick off the organization’s 28th season, FLGMC is teaming up with the South Florida Pride Jazz ensemble for a swinging, big band style performance, Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale’s Horvitz Auditorium.

They will be joined by the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Chorus in a program that is guaranteed to evoke the popular standards of the ‘40s and ‘50s, under the baton of Artistic Director and Founder Dr. Gary Keating.

FLGMC presents “Holidays in Full Swing” Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale Horvitz Auditorium, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. Tickets are $25-40 at TheFtLGMC.org or by calling 954-832-0060.

Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida

One of the hottest tickets in town is to the 158-voice strong Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida’s (GMCSF) holiday concerts. In its first three seasons, the chorus regularly sold out the three annual performances, so this year the schedule has expanded to four concerts over two weekends, as well as a performance on the prestigious Gusman Concert Series at the University of Miami.

“We’re extremely proud of the fact that our mission statement is to open minds and change hearts through music. We’ve mainstreamed this chorus, even though it’s a gay men’s chorus, and are taking out music out into the community,” explained Gordon Roberts, artistic director.

Roberts has planned a diverse program, opening with classical selections including For Unto Us a Child is Born from Handel’s Messiah and a setting of the Gloria by Mark Hayes. The second half features lighter fare, including Boogie Woogie Hanukah, and a special appearance by a local dance company in I Want to Be a Rockette. Members of the chorus will even take the stage for a parody of the famous Rockettes routine, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.

Roberts is especially proud to announce the concert will also be recorded by WLRN-TV for broadcast locally and by affiliate stations on public television.

GMCSF presents “Heaven and Nature Sing” on Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 NW 9th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale and Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gusman Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables. For tickets and information, go to GayMensChorusofSouthFlorida.org. Check local listings for television broadcast dates.

Voices of Pride

Voices of Pride, the Gay Men’s Chorus of the Palm Beaches, is fielding the largest ensemble—28 singers—in its 11-year history. Boasting singers from North and South County, as well as West Palm Beach, the ensemble is also one of the most talented, said Artistic Director Tom Pilecki.

Pilecki has programmed a concert that ranges from poignant classics and standards to some hilarious holiday tunes. Nearly all of the numbers were arranged specifically for Voices of Pride.

In addition to a beautiful rendition of the German carol, Still, Still, Still, the chorus will offer a creative arrangement of John Lennon’s Imagine, combined with excerpts from Silent Night and Comfort Ye from Handel’s Messiah.

“We leave no stone unturned and poke fun at absolutely everything,” promised Pilecki, who has led the group since it was founded and will also be conducting The Forgotten Hanukah Carol and a ditty called, The Aluminum Christmas Tree.

Voices of Pride presents “Voices of the Season 2013” Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at B.B. King’s Blues Club at CityPlace in West Palm Beach and Dec. 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 100 N. Palmway in Lake Worth. Tickets are $25 in advance at VoicesOfPride.org.

Miami Gay Men’s Chorus

The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus (MGMC) is known for theatrical events and Bells in Boyland, the 2013 holiday production Dec. 20-22 at Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre, is certainly no exception.

“We have four ‘persons’ who misinterpret ‘bells’ for ‘belles’ and that is where things start to go awry,” warned Artistic Director Anthony Cabrera. “But, in the midst of all the craziness, there’s a lot of really beautiful holiday music. Almost all of the pieces reference ‘bells’.”

MGMC will be joined by the talented handbell choir from the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ. Cabrera noted that bells really are a signature sound of the Christmas season and audiences will be amazed by the virtuosity of this church ensemble.

The emotional highlight of the program will be Christmas Is, a ballad by Jim Brickman that emphasizes family, fun and experiences that can only be shared during the holiday season.

MGMC presents “Bells in Boyland,” Dec. 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd. in Miami Beach. Tickets are $30-40 at MiamiGayChorus.org.


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