A legacy of many milestones
Eighty men gather at Washington Square United Methodist Church for the first rehearsal of New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.
Following a brief period of separation, the new NYCGMC reforms in September. In October, NYCGMC is called upon to participate in a community memorial service for the two men killed by a drive-by shooter at the Ramrod Bar in Chelsea.
In December, NYCGMC perform their debut holiday concert to standing room only in the Great Hall at the Cooper Union.
“The sustained cheers and standing ovations (three or four?) were proof positive that we were successfully launched. The Cooper Union debut concert demonstrated so clearly that our collective voice is both empowering for us, and powerful as a musical message to any audience hearing us express our community’s feelings in song.”
— Michael Goldstein, NYCGMC charter member
NYCGMC makes its Carnegie Hall debut, becoming the first openly gay musical organization to perform in the world-renowned venue.
NYCGMC is one of the founding members of Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA). In September ‘83, New York City is host to the first GALA Choruses Festival. 11 choruses with more than 650 singers gather to perform at Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls.
NYCGMC is invited to perform at the Eastern Division convention of the American Choral Directors Association. The chorus is selected based on a blind tape audition, but when the ACDA learns the name of the organization, they attempt to prevent the chorus from performing and adopt a policy to prohibit appearances of any chorus with ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ in their name. After a two-year litigation, ACDA reverses its policy.
NYCGMC performs in Best of the Best, the first celebrity AIDS fundraiser in New York City, sharing the Metropolitan Opera House stage with Bette Midler, Chita Rivera, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Peter Allen, and others.
The chorus would continue to perform tirelessly at memorial services and fundraisers for HIV/AIDS related causes for the next three decades.
NYCGMC attends the second GALA Choruses Festival in Minneapolis. GALA now has 45 member choruses.
NYCGMC embarks on their first European tour performing in London, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Paris.
NYCGMC presents a sold-out concert in Avery Fisher Hall celebrating the music of Stephen Sondheim. Chorus members and audience alike are thrilled when Sondheim himself makes an unexpected appearance on stage.
NYCGMC sets off on its second European tour, performing concerts in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Munich, and Berlin. The concert in Berlin is especially poignant as citizens from both sides of the wall are now free to attend.
NYCGMC attends the fourth GALA Choruses Festival in Denver. The festival now hosts 3,400 singers in 64 choruses.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, NYCGMC presents Stonewall 25 at Carnegie Hall. The concert features special guests the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and Seattle Men’s Chorus, and includes a new commission “Flashpoint/Stonewall.”
NYCGMC attends the fifth GALA Choruses Festival in Tampa. The festival is the largest yet, with 86 choruses, 23 small ensembles and 4,700 singers in attendance.
NYCGMC is joined by Seattle Men’s Chorus for their third European tour, which takes them to Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, and London.
On October 19, NYCGMC joins thousands of people carrying candles down Fifth Avenue in a hastily organized Matthew Shepherd Political Funeral March.
NYCGMC serenades First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at a birthday celebration in her honor featuring many of Broadway’s top celebrities.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary season, NYCGMC presents The Gay Century Songbook at Carnegie Hall.
NYCGMC sings at an impromptu vigil in Union Square to provide comfort for the grieving city on Sept 12, the day after the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Youth Pride Chorus makes their debut in the NYCGMC concert Pride for All Ages at Carnegie Hall.
NYCGMC and YPC attend the seventh GALA Choruses Festival in Montreal. 163 choruses are in attendance.
NYCGMC performs the first Big Gay Sing® at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Versions of the popular sing-along show will go on to be performed by dozens of choruses all over the world.
NYCGMC launches The Connect Program, aimed to bring music outside the concert hall settings to connect with people in all corners of NYC.
The Connect Program begins working with Diaspora Community Services, a center in Brooklyn that supports women living with HIV. Members of NYCGMC visit the center to sing and share stories with the largely Latina and Afro-Caribbean clients, many of whom have to hide their status from friends and loved ones.
NYCGMC auditions and (thankfully) is cast to play themselves in the HBO movie The Normal Heart. The scene recreates an actual appearance by the chorus in 1982 at a fundraiser for Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Photo courtesy of HBO
NYCGMC travels to Dublin for the Various Voices festival, with a stop in London for a joint concert with London Gay Men’s Chorus at Queen Elizabeth Hall.
While in Dublin, NYCGMC donates a Big Gay Sing concert in support of Marriage Equality Ireland. Performed to a sold out crowd at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, the evening raises over €35,000 for the cause. Less than a year later, Ireland becomes the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote.
Singer/songwriter Sia asks NYCGMC to join her in a live performance of "Chandelier" at the LOGO Spotlight Awards, filmed at St John the Divine.
Photo courtesy of LOGO
Longtime NYCGMC friend and supporter Joan Rivers passes away, and at the request of her family, NYCGMC sings “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, “Hey, Big Spender” and “That’s Entertainment” at her funeral.
NYCGMC works with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) to form the first ever chorus of LGBT Elders. The Elders Chorus makes their concert debut in the NYCGMC Holiday Spectacular: Home for the Holidays.
"Our performances were received with standing ovations from the audience, and on our part, it was like we were telling the audience and the community, 'Hey, we’re here. We are not done yet! You’ll hear from us again! Stay tuned!'"
- Jay Gutierrez, Elders Chorus member
NYCGMC co-commissions Tyler’s Suite, a collection of songs honoring the life of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman whose 2010 suicide brought national attention to the issue of cyberbullying. NYCGMC presents a special performance of Tyler’s Suite in Ridgewood, NJ, Tyler’s hometown.
The Drama League NY honors Bernadette Peters at their Centennial Gala, and NYCGMC sings “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park With George as the surprise finale.
NYCGMC guest stars in the NY Philharmonic’s 2015 holiday concert Oh, What Fun! at David Geffen Hall. It’s the first collaboration between the two venerable organizations.
NYCGMC grows to a record 265 singers!
Alan Cumming invites NYCGMC to guest star in Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs with Friends at Carnegie Hall.
NYCGMC launches a new brand. #beyondsensational
NYCGMC appears on Good Morning America to offer a song of hope for those in grief after the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando.
Do you have a favorite NYCGMC memory or photos you’d like to share? Visit the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus page on Facebook and let us know.
For a complete list of concerts in past seasons, visit our page on Wikipedia.
NYCGMC Alumni Association
Have you sung a concert with the NYCGMC? Have you volunteered as a non-singing member of the chorus? You are an alumnus! Visit the New York City Gay Men's Chorus Alumni Association page on Facebook to stay connected with other alumni, get updates on events and concerts, and more.