Chorus Teams Up with Symphony for Masterworks, Pops Concerts

Gordon Roberts conducts the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida and Symphony of the Americas in a 2013 performance at the Broward Center. Submitted photo.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (GMCSF) will team up with the Symphony of the Americas for a four concert musical tour de force at the Sunshine Cathedral and Broward Center.

This weekend, the chorus will host the symphony in performances of “Let Music Live!” on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. at the Sunshine Cathedral. Then, the chorus will travel to the symphony’s home in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for “Why We Sing,” Tuesday, April 7 at 8:15 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m.

“It really is a lot of fun,” commented GMCSF artistic director Gordon Roberts. “I get to have his orchestra and he gets to conduct my chorus.”

Audiences can expect choral masterpieces, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Gloria in Excelsis” from the Coronation Mass and his well known “Ave Verum.” The program will also include beloved masterworks by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and also pops selections.

Symphony artistic director James Brooks-Bruzzese will lead the chorus and orchestra in moving renditions of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the jazz standard, “What a Wonderful World.”

One of the highlights of the performances is the premiere of the chorus’ first commissioned work, “Music Makes Me Feel Alive,” from Mark Hayes. According to Roberts, the members were asked to share the reasons why they enjoy music.

“Their reasons were all very different, but at the same time, definite,” Roberts said. “(Hayes) took it all and put it together in one wonderful piece of music.”

Hayes will attend the premiere performances at the Sunshine Cathedral this weekend.

The chorus regularly collaborates with orchestral musicians, usually ensembles of eight to 10, so the opportunity to sing with a 60-piece symphony is a treat relished by all the singers. This is the second time the chorus and symphony have shared performances on each other’s subscription series.

“They love it and, when we did it the last time, to hear us singing with those strings makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck,” he said.

Roberts arranges nearly all the pieces the orchestra performs with the chorus. He rarely has the budget to include a string section on the regular concerts and must rely on clarinets and flutes to cover the musical lines normally played by strings.

“It’s a lot of work,” he admitted, “but its worth it because the string section makes it easier to sing, doubling what the chorus is singing, laying a groundwork, a lush cushion for the voices.”

Tickets for the Sunshine Cathedral performances have been sold out for months, but tickets are still available starting at $20 each for the Broward Center concerts at BrowardCenter.org and GMCSF.org.


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