The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida is celebrating its tenth anniversary in a big way with an entertaining, ambitious and nostalgic series of programs.
“For our 10th anniversary, we polled the chorus members and our audiences, so we could highlight all the best moments from our history,” explained executive director Mark Kent.
To open the season, the chorus presents its traditional holiday concert at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, Dec. 14, and for the third year, the chorus will repeat that concert on Sunday, Dec. 15 with a special celebrity guest artist at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
“American Idol” season 6 winner Jordin Sparks will perform seasonal favorites, along with the 120 men of the chorus and a live orchestra, in the new $150 million Hard Rock Live concert venue at the resort.
Every year, the creative team develops a storyline for their holiday concert. In this case, “Somewhere in my Memory” by Mark Hayes, a touching song about Alzheimer’s Disease, provides that theme. It’s also a very personal cause for artistic director Harold Dioquino, whose father in the Philippines suffers from the disease, and the chorus is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness.
In conjunction with the Pride of the Americas festival coming to Fort Lauderdale next year, at their next concerts, the chorus will debut, “Unbreakable: The Untold Stories of Our Community,” on April 24 and 25 at the Sunshine Cathedral.
Composed by Tony Award-nominee Andrew Lippa (“I Am Harvey Milk,” “The Addams Family,” “Big Fish”), the new musical weaves together 120 years of LGBTQ struggles and courage, illuminated by lesser-known historical figures, including Jane Addams, the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 and an early lesbian activist; Lem Billings, John F. Kennedy’s best friend, a closeted gay man seated at the side of the most powerful man on the planet; and Sylvia Rivera, a mother of the transgender community.
The work beautifully weaves together the themes of awareness and activism and seeks to illuminate decades of setbacks and progress in the United States, said Dioquino, who also noted the piece was co-commissioned by several leading gay men’s choruses.
“As you would expect from a Broadway composer, ‘Unbreakable’ is a very theatrical piece of music, a choral Broadway approach. It’s very upbeat and melodic,” Dioquino added.
The chorus officially marks its 10th anniversary and concludes the season during Pride Month on June 26 and 27 with “Homecoming” at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. The musical program will honor a decade of joyful music, magic and mayhem.
Former members will be invited to return and rehearse with the chorus for the big concert.
“We plan to not only celebrate all we’ve accomplished in 10 years, but also our loyal supporters and all our fans in the audience,” Kent said, promising a special program that will also set the tone for the next decade.
Subscriptions and tickets for individual concerts in the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida 10thanniversary season are available at GMCSF.org.