HAVING FORMED IN 1981, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington has been part of gay D.C.’s culture nearly as long as Capital Pride — sort of like a younger brother. And the histories of the two organizations are pretty close. The GMCW has been at home on the Pride Committee and on both the arts stage and the main stage. When Pride announced the move toward community partnerships, it was a natural fit.
”It was obvious they were reorganizing to make Capital Pride more community-organization focused,” says Jeff Buhrman, GMCW’s artistic director. ”As Capital Pride grows, we hope to be part of its growth. It’s an exciting step, and it’s great to be onboard right at the beginning.”
But it’s not as though teaming up with other community groups is anything new for the chorus. True, these men are famous for making music. The Washington Post has called the GMCW — with more than 225 singing members and nearly 100 support volunteers — one of the best male choruses in the world, and that’s just the tip of the accolades. Working to better the community is as familiar to the chorus as do-re-mi.
”People would be surprised to know the level of involvement that the GMCW has when it comes to community outreach. Besides the singing invitations we accept, it’s the non-singing outreach that continues to grow,” says Buhrman, pointing to the two nights a month members spend volunteering for Food & Friends, or collecting clothes for homeless people, organizing karaoke for seniors, and on and on.
At its June 24 summer concert, held this year at the Kennedy Center, the chorus will present the world premiere of This House Shall Stand: Songs of My Family, which will find them singing about all the diversity of GLBT families, the struggles and the triumphs.
Notes Buhrman, ”I’m most proud of the fact that we sing about what is going on in the gay community and where we need to take it.”
For more information call 202-293-1548 or visit www.gmcw.org.