Rave review for The Holiday Show

December 12, 2017

MD Theatre Guide says The Holiday Show is “not to be missed”

Critic Liz Ruth-Brinegar from MD Theatre Guide gave a rave review for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s 2017 holiday concert, titled The Holiday Show. “If you’ve never seen the GMCW in concert before, I have great confidence that once you’ve seen ‘The Holiday Show’ you’ll spend every December from now on counting down the days not ’til Christmas but ’til the annual concert.”

Ms. Ruth-Brinegar goes on to say “GMCW and their ensemble 17th Street Dance delighted me with their fully costumed rendition of ‘Nutcracker Jingles’ which was a mini performance of the Nutcracker ballet and let me say, the ballerinas had some fine technique! From the dancing snowflakes to the Cossack dance to a Sugar Plum pas de deux (with a lift!) to the waltz of the flowers, I was loving every second. Can I pitch for 17th Street Dance to put on a full-length ballet next season?”

To read the full review, click HERE.

Potomac Fever on ABC7

Washington, DC
November 30, 2017

Potomac Fever appears on ABC7 News

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, our vocal ensemble Potomac Fever appeared on ABC7 (WJLA) and NewsChannel8 to sing holiday carols and promote our upcoming production of The Holiday Show. Potomac Fever joined Kidd O’Shea on the morning news outside the Wiehle-Reston metro stop to greet people on their way to work and spread some holiday spirit. They even joined Kidd for his 7:50am Dance Party. To see the video of their appearance, click HERE

The District Now Review: “A fun night”

November 15, 2017
Washington, DC

Rave review for It Takes Two

Theater critic Aaron Myers of The District Now gave a rave review to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s season-opening cabaret It Takes Two presented on November 11 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Myers writes ” I’m not positive if it was said off the cuff or if it was scripted, but it set the tone for the night, and the audience fell right in line. “Songs and music can be a powerful agent of social change…” and the GMCW did not shy away from many of these issues ranging from race and interracial dating in the gay community, to coping with grief and friendship.” To read the full review and hear the audio interview with Artistic Director Thea Kano, click HERE.

DC Metro Theater Arts Review: “Innovative and charming concert”

Washington, DC
November 15, 2017

Rave review for It Takes Two

Theater critic David Friscic of DC Metro Theater Arts gave a rave review to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s season-opening cabaret It Takes Two presented on November 11 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Friscic writes “This innovative and charming concert ended on an ethereal and meditative note as the entire cast gazed off in the distance and harmonized to rapturous effect to the delicate melodic line of Stephen Sondheim’s song “Sunday” from Sunday In the Park with George.” To read the full review, click HERE.

Live recording of Southern Equality Tour

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC will host a special live concert of music from our Southern Equality Tour to be recorded live. This performance is free and open to the public. Seating is general admission. No need to purchase tickets or RSVP – just come join us on September 30 for an afternoon of glorious Broadway music, with songs like “Being Alive,” “Seasons of Love,” “What More Can I Say,” and “I Am What I Am.” 

September 30, 2017
Foundry United Methodist Church
1500 16th Street NW, Washington, DC

Please note that because this concert will be recorded, there might be times when the conductor will stop and start the music, and there may be sight line issues because of the recording equipment.

GMCW celebrates queer underground with Ropeburn

The 2017 GMCW Fall Event

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) is pleased to announce the debut of a new fall event entitled Ropeburn, a celebration of the queer underground in the underground and fall fundraiser. Ropeburn will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017 starting at 7:00pm in the Dupont Underground, located at 19 Dupont Circle NW, Washington, DC. Tickets for the event are $75 and can be purchased by calling 202-293-1548 or online at gmcw.org.

The fundraiser is the first event of GMCW’s 2017-2018 Season Make America Gay Again. Ropeburn will bring together the leather community, the ball community, and GMCW — groups with a history of culture and political activism. The event is a celebration of two distinct foundations of today’s mainstream pop culture: the Leather Community (“rope”) and the Balls made famous by the movie Paris is Burning (“burn”). Ropeburn promises to be an amazing night with a Tom of Finland fantasy live model art gallery, fetish demonstrations, vogue dance battles, and special performances at 10:00pm and midnight. Plus, it’s hosted in one of the most intriguing spaces in all of DC: the subterranean Dupont Underground.

Highlights of the evening include fashion displays, DJs, drinks, raffle prizes, and more. Performers include Pussy Noir, Sistr Mid9ight with Rich Morel, 17th Street Dance, and soloists from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC.

For more information about the event, visit our webpage. To arrange an interview, contact Craig Cipollini, director of marketing, at ccipollini@gmcw.org.

Click HERE to video the Ropeburn promo video.

Raising Our Voices Against Hate

August 28, 2017
Washington, DC

Since January, and even well before that, we have witnessed a near constant assault on virtually every group that can be referred to as ‘other.’ We have heard hateful rhetoric about women, people with disabilities, immigrants, people of color, queer youth, transgender people, people of different faiths, especially those of Jewish and Muslim religions, and sexual minorities. Even as I write this letter, President Trump is seeking to exclude trans people from serving in the military and to deny currently-serving trans military personnel the medical treatment they require and deserve. Seemingly the only people who are safe are those who share in that hate of the ‘other.’ Even in DC and the surrounding areas, there are increased reports of hate crimes and attacks. These messages of hate have many paralyzed with fear and anger, wondering what we can do.

What this hate has not done and will not do is diminish our voice. Earlier this year, GMCW took strategic steps to align our mission with what we have been doing for nearly four decades – singing for equality, inclusion, justice, and dignity of all people. We believe in a world where everyone is treated with respect and as equals.

As we enter into our 37th season, GMCW reaffirms our pledge to raise our voice to extinguish the hate that is tearing our United States apart. We will celebrate the diverse tapestry of our great nation instead of shredding that tapestry. We will uplift and inspire queer youth rather than allowing them to be the victims of bullying. We will bring people together through the power of performance instead of isolating groups of people with fear. And as we recall the success of our Southern Equality Tour, and plan our next one, we will take our message and music beyond the beltway to comfort, encourage, and inspire a broader activist audience.

Whether you’ve been with us since our inception or are learning about us for the first time, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe, we welcome you to join us as we Make America Gay Again. We offer you the opportunity to make your voice heard by performing with us, volunteering with us, donating to us, and attending our full season of varied and fascinating concerts and events.

With each voice that is added, our power grows. Thank you for being a part.

Love always wins,
Justin and Thea

Moving the Needle with Love

by Thea Kano

We had just boarded the buses following our performance at the Knoxville Pride Festival when we saw several protesters at the festival’s entrance, so we asked the drivers to pull over. Our 100 singers unloaded the buses and crossed four lanes of traffic to get to the other side of the road where the protesters where shouting the hateful remarks also written on their signs. We were in the midst of gathering when one of them approached us. I blew the pitch pipe, yelled “Seasons of Love,” cued the chorus, and we instinctually encircled him while commencing to sing. He shouted louder and louder, so we raised our voices, increasing the dynamics with each musical phrase. As we stood in the blazing heat, encircling the hate in our bright green t-shirts from the March for Equality and Pride, the protester walked within the circle, standing before each of us, looking at each of us one by one, with eyes that emitted fear and loneliness. He continued to shout, and we continued to sing. We next sang “Make Them Hear You,” then “We Shall Overcome,” and finally, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At that point a young woman named Tessa entered our circle, proudly carrying a Pride flag. She held it up high against the protestor’s sign, covering its hateful words. Our singing literally drowned out hate that hot afternoon.

That evening we performed a concert at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church, a venue recommended to us by a pastor at a Unitarian church in the Washington, DC area. She said we should sing there because “they could use your love.” She explained that a few years prior a man entered the church during a youth ministries program and shot nine attendees, killing two, while shouting hateful and disparaging words against the LGBTQ community. This congregation is still reeling from having been violently shrouded in hate that night. Our coming to town and singing for the church members gave this congregation an opportunity to heal. One of its members later said that she wept all the way home following our concert, as our being there helped her to feel the hope and love that was ripped away so violently years ago. Also in our audience that night was social justice activist Candice Carawan, who with her husband made “We Shall Overcome” the protest song it is today. That night she led us, hand in hand, in song, and at once we were shrouded with love, and filled with humble gratitude for this activist’s life-long work.

To read the rest of Thea’s blog post at GALA Choruses website, click HERE.

GMCW surrounds protesters with song

On June 17, 2017, while in Knoxville, TN to perform at Knoxville Pride as part of their Southern Equality Tour, GMCW encountered a group of anti-LGBTQ protesters outside the Knoxville Coliseum where the Knoxville Pride events were taking place. GMCW had finished performing and were on the tour buses about to head back to the hotel. Artistic Director Thea Kano and Executive Director Justin Fyala made a split-second decision. They stopped the buses, got the members to cross four lanes of traffic and then did what they do best: they raised their voiced in song, effectively drowning out the protesters.

The footage from the protest has been viewed over 5 million times on various news outlets and social media platforms, and the story has been picked up all over the US and even overseas with both UK and Ireland news outlets writing about the story. The story has also been tweeted by celebrities like Cher, Audra McDonald and Debra Messing.

GMCW never backs down when an opportunity to share our mission of equality and justice for all presents itself,” he said. “In my mind, we had no choice… We also did it to empower the people attending Knoxville Pride to raise their voices and as a way of thanking them for the powerful work they are doing on the front lines,” says Justin.

Below is a sample of media postings and articles about the Knoxville protest:

Huffington Post


NewNowNext (Logo)

USA Today

Fox 5 News


Pink News (UK)

The Irish Times (Dublin)

The Guardian (Australia)

To view the video of GMCW singing and surrounding the protesters, click HERE.

Dispatches from the road

by Justin Fyala

1600 miles. 100 singers. 8 concerts. 6 states. 4 days. 2 buses. 1 voice.

I dropped off my dog Daphne. I picked up coffee. I made my way to our departure point. As I turned the corner, I saw a singer walking, no, sashaying toward the bus. I stopped in my tracks and my eyes welled with tears. To me, the vision represents how vital it is for The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. (GMCW) to head out on our Southern Equality Tour.

You see, “sashaying” is an action one only feels truly comfortable doing when freedom and equality are present. It is a symbol of comfort, of being in a place and time where one can be themselves. In the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., it’s a regular occurrence. GMCW is bringing our voice of equality to the South to change hearts and minds, not only about sashaying, but about the larger issue of respecting people for who they are, as they come.

It’s a terrible thing to not be able to walk in the manner most comfortable to oneself. It’s worse to worry each day over losing one’s job because of your core identity. Worst of all is living in fear of one’s life. We head to the South to raise our voice and essential funds for local Queer centers, churches, and organizations. To ease some of the fear and anxiety many individuals feel about not only their rights, but about being their true and open selves. To offer support to those who feel lost.

We arrived at Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. for our first performance, an institution with a longstanding guiding principle of inclusiveness. Without time for a warm-up, we entered the space singing “Seasons of Love” (you know, that song from Rent). The audience immediately showed their warmth and love, not even allowing us to get through the door before bursting into applause. It was a sweetly surreal moment – we’re really doing this; this is really happening. After the performance, as we quickly made our way back to the bus, words such as phenomenal, wonderful, beautiful, awesome, and thank you rang in our ears.

We continued to Columbia, S.C.’s Reformation Lutheran Church. The church’s tagline is “all are invited and welcomed.” The church, led by Pastor Tim Bupp, goes beyond welcoming those who come through its doors and actively invites those of any community to join. The performance was a benefit for the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center. Ms. Hancock, who many consider the mother of South Carolina Pride was present, beaming that our organizations would work together in such a way. But the collaborative nature of the evening didn’t end there – we were lucky enough to be joined by one of the newest GALA choruses, Midlands Men’s Chorus (MMC). In an email the following morning, MMC Artistic Director Gerald Gurss wrote, “MMC is on fire after last night. So thankful to share the evening with you!” The feeling was more than mutual and we went to bed that night with our own warm fire of justice in our hearts.

To read the rest of Justin’s blog, click HERE.