New music from GMCW

Just in time for the holidays! GMCW announces the release of two brand-new recordings. First is the world premiere of the tenor & bass arrangement of the Maurice Duruflé Requiem that was arranged by GMCW artistic director Thea Kano and recorded live in March 2018. And one of GMCW’s vocal ensembles, Potomac Fever, has released a new album of Christmas music titled A Potomac Fever Christmas. Both albums are available to purchase on CD at GMCW performances. You can also purchase CDs or digital copies online at CD Baby. Downloads and streaming are also available. Give the gift of music this holiday season!

To purchase Maurice Duruflé Requiem click HERE

To purchase A Potomac Fever Christmas, click HERE.

You can also visit the Music page of our website.

Greg Watkins joins GMCW as director of Seasons of Love

WASHINGTON, DC – The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) is pleased to announce the appointment of Greg Watkins as the director of GMCW’s vocal ensemble Seasons of Love. Mr. Watkins will conduct the 16-member gospel and inspirational ensemble starting in the 2018-2019 Season.

Greg Watkins is a born and bred Washingtonian and well-respected singer, pianist, musical director, composer and arranger, actor, voice talent, and entertainer. He is a graduate of The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University (B.M. Music Education), and a former graduate student of Catholic University where he pursued his masters in vocal performance.

Mr. Watkins is the recipient of the 2008 ASCAP Foundation/Cherry Lane Foundation/Music Alive Award in honor of Dr. Quincy Jones for his outstanding work in production, composition, performance, and musical direction. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Coalition for African-Americans in the Performing Arts’ Emerging Artist Award for his exemplary work with children, his service to the community, and his many accomplishments as a rising performing artist.

Mr. Watkins is currently the artistic director for The MusicianShip Washington Youth Choir and brings with him a wealth of experience. As a trained singer and pianist, he has performed on historic stages including Warner Theater, Lincoln Theatre, Howard Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington National Cathedral, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The White House, and the Grand Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“We are very excited to have someone with such phenomenal talent and vision as Greg Watkins join the GMCW artistic staff,” says Thea Kano, artistic director for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC.

Mr. Watkins brings with him not only a vast musical background, but a passion for social justice and LGBTQ+ equality. “I love and relish the spirit of community. So I’m looking to enjoy an experience I’ve never had before, meet new people, have lots of fun, and grow more as an effective leader and humanitarian,” says Mr. Watkins. “Beauty is not only found in the songs we sing. But it’s also found in the relationships we build, the lives we touch, and the moments we cherish. Together, we are going to touch the lives of millions around the world and I’m looking forward to it. Special thanks to Seasons of Love and the GMCW leadership for welcoming me into the family!”

Dax ExclamationPoint to appear at Ropeburn 2

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC is thrilled to announce that Dax ExclamationPoint from Season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race will be our special guest and host at Ropeburn 2: Guardians of Equality to be held on October 18, 2018 at SAX Restaurant and Lounge. Dax has toured the country alongside other stars of Rupaul's Drag Race and is a cosplayer, artist, illustrator, costume designer, makeup artist, and wig stylist. Dax has also hosted panels and discussions at various comic and cosplay conventions around the country. We are excited at that Dax will be with us for the fall fundraiser. For more information about Ropeburn or to get tickets, click HERE.

GMCW featured on WHUT-TV

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC was featured on episode #205 of “ARTICO” on WHUT-TV (Howard University’s Public Television station on channel 32). The program focuses on arts in the community. Artistic Director Thea Kano spoke of the history of GMCW and its music. GMCW members Michael Smith and Marcus Brown (also a Howard alumnus) spoke about GMCW and what it means to the community and to them personally. The segment also featured clips from GMCW performances, including footage from GMCW’s April 2018 performance at Wolf Trap.

To see the full episode, click HERE.

DC Metro Theater Arts review of TransAmerica

On June 2-3, 2018, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC presented TransAmerica, a celebration of the transgender and genderqueer communities. Critic John Stoltenberg of DC Metro Theater Arts writes, “Featuring a stage full of soaring, sonorous voices and an astute program of songs in celebration of authentic selfhood, it was, in a word, exhilarating.

TransAmerica was one of the most timely, important, and liberatory concerts the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC has yet produced. In each and every programming choice and performance, it celebrated the possibility of affirming one’s authentic selfhood without derogating anyone else’s. That is a radical notion still. The world would be better off if more people got it. This concert set it to music—and left one humming the tune.”

To read the full review, click HERE

Rave review for TransAmerica from MD Theatre Guide

On June 2-3, 2018, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC presented TransAmerica, a celebration of the transgender and genderqueer communities. Critic Liz Ruth-Brinegar from MD Theatre Guide gave a rave review. Ms. Ruth-Brinegar writes, “When you’re at a concert that both moves you to tears and stuns you with the quality of musicianship, you know you’re watching the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, under the direction of Dr. Thea Kano, who put on another spectacular concert.

The bravery of these individuals in sharing their truths, even truths that were difficult for their own chorus to hear, was extraordinary. The bravery of the GMCW to explore and shed a light on these truths and commit to hearing them and growing in their own understanding of how to be better trans allies was also powerful and hopefully an inspiring lesson to members of the audience who perhaps realized through the course of this concert that they, too, needed to work on becoming a better ally.”

To read the full review, click HERE.

Meet our TransAmerica guest performers

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC is thrilled to welcome two special guests for our TransAmerica concert on June 2 and 3, 2018 at Lincoln Theatre. Joining GMCW will be soprano Breanna Sinclaire and advocate Vanessa Ford.

BREANNA SINCLAIRÉ

A native of Baltimore, MD, Breanna Sinclairé is a graduate of the esteemed Baltimore School for the Arts and Tanglewood Institute. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance from the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts, under the tutelage of Maria Fortuna Dean and Kate Conklin. She earned her Master of Music in opera from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as the first transwoman of the opera program, under the pedagogy of Ms. Ruby Pleasure.

Operatic performances include Carmen (as Carmen), Cavalli’s La Calisto (Furie), Menotti’s The Old Maid and The Thief (Miss Todd), Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Rameau’s Platée, and Bernstein and Sondheim’s West Side Story, as well as contemporary performances in Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension at the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theatre (REDCAT) and Zachary Sharrin’s Time Bodies at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles.

Most recently, Ms. Sinclairé performed for the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Annual Convention alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in Washington DC. She also performed at the Toronto Pride Festival, the San Francisco Trans March, the Fresh Meat Transgender and Queer Arts Festivals, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club’s 40th Anniversary Dinner, the California Academy of Sciences annual Pride Night Life event, LinkedIn’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group speaker series panel discussion (alongside civil rights leader Cecilia Chung), Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness book tour at the San Francisco LGBT Center, the Transgender Law Center’s SPARK! anniversary celebration, and the 2016 GALA Choruses Festival, alongside the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Colorado Symphony.

Ms. Sinclairé holds the distinction of being the first transwoman to sing at a national sporting event – first with the Oakland A’s, and more recently for the San Francisco Deltas. She was among Out Magazine’s 2015 “OUT100” list of LGBT heroes.

Click HERE to read Ms. Sinclairé’s interview with Baltimore OUT Loud. 

VANESSA FORD

Vanessa Ford taught for 15 years in DC and is currently the Director of Education for a learning non-profit. She is married to JR Ford, and they have two energetic children: Ronnie , a cis-gender 8 year old son, and Ellie, a transgender 7 year-old daughter. In 2015, when Ellie transitioned, Ms. Ford and her husband became vocal advocates for trans youth. She is on the Board of the National Center for Transgender Equality and her advocacy work can be seen in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, and on National Geographic’s Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. She now resides in the Boston area.

How did you get involved with the National Center for Transgender Equality?
When Ellie transitioned, and we decided that we wanted to share our story as a form of advocacy, we were welcomed by NCTE to visit the office and talk about their work, and the ways they support storytelling as advocacy. We fell in love with the NCTE team when we arrived and over the next year collaborate with them, specifically Rebecca Kling, Community Storytelling Advocate, to ensure each of our pieces were written or filmed in a way that was most impactful, and respectful to our family and the trans community. Mara Keisling and the Board decided to invite me to join in May of 2017. It’s been an honor to join the organization in its work to ensure transgender people from around the country not only survive, but thrive. It’s what I want for my daughter and all others like her.

What is your background/how did you get involved with “At The Heart”?
When Ellie first told us she was a girl, we immediately reached out to see if there were any other families who were experiencing this. We needed support, and we needed guidance. The name that came up first was Debi Jackson, an amazing advocate and mom to a transgender daughter in Missouri. Debi was the first parent of a transgender child I ever talked to, and over the years has become a dear friend. “At The Heart” was written based on a beautiful piece Debi wrote and performed for a Listen to Your Mother show. That piece changed the world for families like ours, and inspired me to do my own two years later. When we heard that this piece was being performed and Debi was unable to travel to read it, I asked her permission to narrate the song on her behalf. I am honored to read her powerful words and hope to do it, her and her family justice.

Can you tell us a little more about your work as a trans ally/activist?
As a career educator, I worked tirelessly to ensure all students had access to a safe, meaningful and rich classroom environment. For much of my career, my focus was on education equity as it relates to the STEM field. However, when Ellie transitioned, I began to see the critical need for LGBTQ inclusive schools- and the intersections of education equity with trans advocacy. Because of this, I’ve approached advocacy through the lens of education — asking questions, listening, building relationships and providing the audience, whoever it may be, with knowledge that will allow them to be better allies. I firmly believe that the vast majority of people are good, that they want to do what’s best — but that they don’t have the knowledge about trans students and people that will allow them to do that. Moreover, that lack of knowledge often shows up in transphobic or homophobic ways. Education is a powerful tool, so when combined with storytelling, and connecting to another person, I believe that we can start to shift those beliefs to ones that make a safer environment for all people.

What are you most looking forward to about the concert?
Last year, my family met (GMCW member) JJ Vera and they immediately were family. They styled my son’s hair into a rainbow and the rest is history! JJ has been such an incredible part of our lives, and we attended GMCW last year when they played “Hedwig” in the And the Tony Goes To… concert. We were blown away. JJ was the one who told me that “At the Heart” was going to be performed and made the connection for me. For me, what is most exciting is honoring my friend Debi by narrating her piece, but also watching JJ perform their solo, “This is Me”. To be on that stage together will truly solidify him as one of our closest chosen family, and I am so glad I’ll get to be there to support them.

What do you hope people will take away from the song/the concert?
I want people to feel the love and affirmation pouring off that stage. I want the sounds to permeate their bodies and hearts, and help hold space for those in the audience who need it. I want people to feel inspired and connected— and most importantly, part of a community. All in that room on those days are not alone.

Anything else you want to add?
Thank you to Thea Kano for this amazing opportunity. As the daughter of a choral director, choral music has paid a huge role in my life. I am honored and thankful.

Rave review for GMCW’s TTBB adaptation of Duruflé Requiem

On March 3, 2018, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC presented the world premiere TTBB adaptation of the Maurice Duruflé Requiem. Critic Jamie McCrary of Washington Classical Review gave a rave review of GMCW’s premiere of the work, arranged and conducted by GMCW artistic director Thea Kano. McCrary writes,”This was a high-quality, artistically nuanced performance. The piece was beautifully interpreted and presented, a testimony to Kano’s artistic leadership, as well as strong contributions from organist Jeremy Filsell and the chamber string orchestra with trumpet, harp and timpani.” 

To read the full review, click HERE.

Transgender soprano Breanna Sinclairé to perform with GMCW

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) is thrilled to announce that transgender soprano Breanna Sinclairé will join GMCW as it continues its 37th season, Make America Gay Again. Ms. Sinclairé will join the Chorus for two concerts in 2018 – first for the world premiere of the tenor-bass arrangement of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem in March, and then again for TransAmerica in June.

A native of Baltimore, MD, Breanna Sinclairé is a graduate of the esteemed Baltimore School for the Arts and Tanglewood Institute. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance from the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts, under the tutelage of Maria Fortuna Dean and Kate Conklin. She earned a Master of Music in opera from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as the first transwoman of the opera program, under the pedagogy of Ms. Ruby Pleasure.

Operatic performances include Carmen (as Carmen), Cavalli’s La Calisto (Furie), Menotti’s The Old Maid and The Thief (Miss Todd), Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Rameau’s Platée, and Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story, as well as contemporary performances in Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension at the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theatre (REDCAT) and Zachary Sharrin’s Time Bodies at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles.

Ms. Sinclairé also holds the distinction of being the first transwoman to sing at a national sporting event – first with the Oakland A’s, and more recently for the San Francisco Deltas. She was among Out Magazine’s 2015 “OUT100” list of LGBT heroes.

“In these dark times, community and empowerment is what we need. I am honored to sing alongside the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washinton, DC. Let’s make a statement with the sounds of music!” said Ms. Sinclairé.

Rock Creek Singers on NewsChannel 8

Washington, DC
December 22, 2017

Rock Creek Singers appear on NewsChannel 8

On Friday, December 22, 2017, our vocal ensemble Rock Creek Singers appeared on NewsChannel8 to sing holiday carols and help ring in the holidays. Rock Creek Singers joined Adrianna Hopkins on the morning news down in Arlington, VA at the NewsChannel 8 studios. To see the video of their appearance, click HERE