When I told my son Graham that I was trying out for the Eugene Gay Men’s Chorus, I said, “I have no idea what it will be like.” His quick reply was, “It’ll probably be pretty gay.”
He’s a funny guy. But truly, I have never felt more happily gay than I did singing in front of a full house with my fellow choristers on the night of our debut concert, Coming Out For The Holidays. Though I have been out for many years with friends and family, this was a kind of debut for me as well. For the first time I sought out the opportunity to be visible to the community at large as a gay man.
The search for community is a primary reason that men join a gay chorus. The lifting of gay voices in harmony is a gentle, shared political act that is at the same time very personal. What better way to say, “We’re queer, and we’re here,” than to show up singing, to give the larger community an opportunity to affirm our presence, to share in the healing of fear and division within and without.
As the chorus walked onto the stage for our first concert, before we had sung even one note, cheers and applause greeted us. I know that I was not alone in having a deeply emotional Sally Field Moment. You like me! Right now, you like me!
So, yeah, pretty gay.
To be sure, everyone involved in the chorus invested a lot of work and time. We produced a quality concert. But more, much more than this, we engaged with the audience in a conspiracy of love.
It was standing room only as the Eugene Gay Men’s Chorus ‘Came Out for the Holidays’ at Trinity United Methodist Church in our premiere concert. We were delighted to have an audience, even more so one that was ready to have as much fun as the choristers were on stage.
Under the direction of Artistic Director Evan Miles and the accompaniment of Grant Mack, the 20 member chorus brought to life holidays songs from many traditions around the globe, sharing the gift of community and holiday cheer to all who were there.
Crowd estimates, performed by novices, claim there to have been between 220 and 270 delighted participants with sing alongs, spectacular choreography, and holiday cheer in their ears.
There are three groups we’d like to thank for the evening’s wonder:
You, our audience and supporters for coming out!
The volunteers that helped deck the hall, baked tasty cookies of cheer, and help sell tickets and welcome our attendees!
To each of you who helped get us here through your financial generosity, invitations to perform, and excitement for a beautiful community.
Additionally, we’d like to thank our fine host, Trinity United Methodist Church, and the many shout outs we received in the local press leading up to the event (The Registered Guard, Eugene Weekly, KVAL, and many more!).
EGMC will be posting information related to their schedule in the new year shortly. Thank you so much for your interest and support!
Eugene Gay Men’s Chorus is so thankful for the opportunity to commemorate World AIDS Day with HIV Alliance in Eugene, Oregon. HIV Alliance is an invaluable community partner with an impact expanding far beyond Eugene and Lane County. The event, which was held on November 30, 2018 at WOW Hall in Eugene, featured community partners and commemoration of the advances, challenges, and losses in the supporting those living with HIV/AIDS and the prevention of new HIV infections. We’re so thankful for the work of HIV Alliance in our community and the invitation to add our voices to their commemoration event.