Editors Note: Due to a mistake this story did not run before the production of GMCSF’s final performance of Metamorphosis. We regret the error.

Gordon Roberts, artistic director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, feels life is about constant change and his ensemble will use music to explore those transformations with the Florida premiere of Metamorphosis this weekend at the Sunshine Cathedral.

 

The title work, composed by Robert Seely with lyrics by Robert Espindola, was written with the gay experience in mind, but Roberts says it speaks to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

“For me, Metamorphosis touches on a lot of issues that gay people go through while growing up,” he explains. “But they’re universal themes. All children growing up have to deal with parental and generational issues and this work truly speaks to a much broader audience.”

Written in 10 movements, the work touches on many shared experiences, including “Picket Fences,” which musically explores the complex secrets inside the houses behind the picturesque white picket fences.

“The premise is that as you go down this dark road, but change is wonderful and we can find ways out of those difficult situations,” Roberts says, noting the work’s final movement, Tidy Endings, celebrates new beginnings.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the chorus, which has grown from 45 to 80 singers in its inaugural season, will perform with 25 musicians from the Symphony of the Americas.

“The music is so romantic and lush that it demanded strings,” Roberts says. He hopes the concert will be just the first collaboration between the chorus and the orchestra, including shared concerts next season in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Rounding out the second half of the program, called “Change Can Be Wonderful,” are contrasting choral works spanning the choral repertoire by George Frederick Handel, Aaron Copland and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

“If the first half of the concert is dark and thought provoking, then the second half is definitely ‘dessert’,” he says. “It will be very different, but continue the theme of change.”

Handel’s “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” will herald the second half, followed by “Salvation is Created;” “Slava,” a famous Russian anthem by Rimsky-Korsakov; folk song settings by American composer Copland, the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and a spiritual; and closing with “Waters Ripple and Flow,” a work that evokes the ebbs and flows of relationships.

Like the concert theme, Roberts and the chorus have undergone dramatic changes this year. Formed less than a year ago, the chorus got its start when 45 singers in another organization left to form GMCSF. Roberts was appointed artistic director and the group set out to build an audience. The first two concerts were sold out.

Over the past several months, a volunteer board of community leaders was formed to tackle fundraising and management—the group has already raised more than $140,000—and a leadership team was formed by singers.

“We recently held a fundraiser and nearly a third of the attendees were straight,” Roberts says. “We have set an artistic [and managerial] foundation to grow the chorus beyond the immediate gay community.”

Roberts hopes the chorus will expand to 125 singers by the holiday concert next December and is actively pursuing relationships with other arts organizations like the Symphony of the Americas.

He chuckles, “Change is constant.”

“Metamorphosis — Change Can Be Wonderful”

Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida

Friday and Saturday, June 17–18, 8 p.m.

Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale

Tickets $25 at GMSCF.org


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