The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte (GMCC) is launching a television show and a women’s chorus throughout 2021 and 2022. After eighteen months of rehearsing in parking garages and over Zoom, the GMCC held their first in-person concert on April 25. This show, titled the Big Gay Sing: Spring Break Edition, took place outdoors at Queen’s University with a capacity of one-hundred attendants.
The Big Gay Sing was a triumph for the eighteen singers of GMCC, but COVID-19 has caused the group’s funding and participation to dwindle significantly.
“We spent the last year and a half doing things we never thought we’d be doing,” says Artistic Director John Quillin, “We have been learning to deal with technology, video and sound editing and doing Facebook lives.”
Quillin emphasizes the need to carry these skills forward. “Singing outside has its weather challenges in North Carolina,” says Quillin. “We can even make singing outside less of a miserable experience.”
After facing these obstacles for the past several months, Quillin and the GMCC have decided to branch their organization out. These developments include the GMCC television show and a women’s chorus.
Working closely with WCCB, the program will begin production sometime in October and will air on a yet to be determined date in December. Although many choruses have appeared on television, the GMCC is one of the first five choruses in the U.S. to do a show all their own. The presentation will be centered around the holidays, featuring songs like Todrick Hall’s “Bells, Bows, Gifts, and Trees.”
The show itself is predominantly secular but does include one sacred song. Other tunes include a number in Latin, and the song “Santa Will Find You.” As well, GMCC is celebrating the music of Chely Wright, because he one of the first out country singers. At least one drag queen will be featured on camera and LGBTQ composers and lyricists will be part of the recording process.
Also working with Carolina Voices as Director of Impromptu, Quillin has been helping audition potential chorus members since 2011.
“Every year we have a surplus of altos and sopranos audition we have to turn away,” Quillin explains. “We need to keep Carolina Voices’ ensemble balanced but I want to give folks another place to sing. The women’s chorus will be a social justice-oriented program, raising voices about issues that affect women.”
Unlike GMCC, this chorus will not be specifically queer.
“Anyone can sing” Quillin explains. “GMCC has had straight men, cisgender women, transgender women and transgender men participate in the chorus.”
The women’s chorus will uphold the same principles.
Says Quillin: “If you can sing soprano or alto, in you go!”
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