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”Bach is my favorite composer, hands down,” Chase Maggiano says, when asked what he listens to in his spare time. But in addition to baroque Bach and Tchaikovksy, his favorite Romantic, Maggiano cops to more current sounds. ”I also like Top 40,” he says. ”It’s fun, and that’s what music should be, right?”
(Photo by Todd Franson)
Maggiano is executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, so it would be unusual if he didn’t like pop music. ”Yeah, our chorus can get away with doing the fun, poppy stuff,” he says, adding that his pitch when reaching out to other local, classically minded arts organizations, exploring future collaborations, is, ”Come let your hair down with us.”
Oftentimes, the best way to let your hair down with the Gay Men’s Chorus is by donning a wig. For example, take Maggiano’s description of this weekend’s chorus offering, Von Trapped.
”Think of the Mother Abbess in drag, or a six-foot Gretl,” he suggests. ”It’s a hilarious, smart, gay parody of The Sound of Music. We’re back to our campy roots.”
Leading a gay arts organization isn’t exactly the career path Maggiano thought he might pursue. As a teenager in Vienna, Va., he traveled to Germany, Brazil and Argentina playing violin with a small local orchestra. But Maggiano — who, incidentally, is not related to the American-Italian restaurant of the same name — opted for a career outside of the arts. ”I didn’t want to make my bread and butter doing something that I loved so much,” he says. ”So I just decided in high school to leave music as an avocation.”