Singers, instrumentalists and audiences alike will enjoy a unique musical experience as the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida and the Symphony of the Americas take the stage together for a series of concerts in Fort Lauderdale.
“We’re probably the first gay chorus, for sure in South Florida, possibly in Florida, to perform with a symphony as prestigious the Symphony of the Americas,” said Gordon Roberts, artistic director of the chorus.
Added Maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese, artistic director of the symphony, “It’s going to be a blast. With 150 singers and 70 in the orchestra all on one stage, we’re just going to blow away (the audience).”
Both agree it’s going to be a unique experience for everybody involved.
The program, which includes traditional choral and orchestral classics as well as plenty of lighter “pops” fare, will be presented four times, twice at the symphony’s primary venue, the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theatre, and twice at the Sunshine Cathedral, where the chorus regularly performs.
And, each conductor will take turns on the podium. Brooks-Bruzzese will conduct choral classics like Beethoven’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives and Roberts will lead the symphony in orchestral classics including Bernstein’s Overture to Candide and Brahms’ Fourth Hungarian Dance.
“I’m really putting myself out there (as a conductor),” chuckled Roberts, “but it’s just going to be a lot of fun.”
The program will include a selection, Roller Coaster, from Roberts’ own musical, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, that premiered in 2004 and relates the tumultuous story of a couple riding out the “ups and downs” of their relationship.
“We’re really going to mix it up,” said Brooks-Bruzzese, with a moving rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic, New York, New York and even Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. “I first heard the chorus about three years ago and knew they were going to be something special.”
Rounding out the concert will be arrangements of Singing in the Rain, What a Wonderful World and, of course, Over the Rainbow.
“At the beginning, we were going to do a traditional concert with each group doing a half, but we realized it might be the only time our audience may hear the symphony and the symphony audience may hear the chorus,” explained Roberts, “so we decided to change everything around to give the audience a musical banquet.”
The concert also takes on special significance as the Symphony of the Americas marks its 25th anniversary this season.
Earlier this winter, the symphony celebrated with 25 Days of Music, a musical gift to the residents of Broward County. Each day, beginning Jan. 1 and concluding Jan. 25 at the symphony gala, the orchestra presented “flash mob” style performances, educational programs in the schools, concerts at local retirement communities and ticket and CD giveaways.
The highlight was the flash mob appearance at the Las Olas Art Show on Jan. 5. Musicians emerged from the massive crowd to perform Beethoven’s famous Ode to Joy and delighted hundreds of onlookers.
“It’s no small accomplishment for a non-profit orchestra to achieve a milestone like our 25th anniversary, especially in these difficult economic times,” said Brooks-Bruzzese. “As we began to plan, we wanted to do something special and the 25 Days of Music were our musical gift back to our friends and neighbors across South Florida.”
To go see Gay Men’s Chorus and Symphony of the Americas
Amaturo Theatre, Broward Center
Tuesday, March 19, 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m.
Tickets $25-75 at BrowardCenter.org
1480 SW 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.
Performances Sold Out
More information at GayMensChorusofSouthFlorida.org