The Columbus Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) was formed in 1990 by five people. The non-auditioned chorus maintains the vision of its founding members to foster increased recognition, understanding and acceptance of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender ...
The Columbus Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) was formed in 1990 by five people. The non-auditioned chorus maintains the vision of its founding members to foster increased recognition, understanding and acceptance of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.
The Columbus Gay Men's Chorus was conceived at a Christmas party for the group GAP, Gay and Professional, hosted by Mark Cooke and Dan Huff. As attendees sang Christmas carols around the piano being played by Cooke the idea arose that Columbus needed its own gay men's chorus so the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus was founded in January 1990 by five individuals: Doug Althauser, Kevin Gary, Bob Germain, Phil Martin, and Jack Wisniewski. After months of discussion and research, the five incorporated the Chorus and began rehearsals in September of that year. Rehearsals were held at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the debut concert took place on December 9, 1990 at the Thurber Theater on the Ohio State University campus. Fifty-one men sang in that first concert.
In 1990, the Chorus hired David Price as its inaugural Artistic Director. Price served 7 years directing the chorus and helping establish strong traditions and musical performances. During this time, Price took the Chorus to its very first GALA Festival performance in Denver, Colorado.
During this time, the Chorus released its first CD, Stepping Out. The Chorus again went to GALA with Price in 1996.
In 1997, the chorus hired David Monseur as the new Artistic Director. Monseur served as the director of the Chorus until 2010. Under his guidance, the Chorus held its first Joy! Concert at the King Avenue United Methodist Church.
Over the years there have been several highlights of note for the Chorus. Monseur expanded the Chorus by founding Illuminati, which internationally debuted at the GALA Festival in Montreal, Canada. CGMC released another CD: Joy!
In 1999, Ann Hampton Calloway performed with the Chorus and dedicated one of her songs in memory of the Chorus's accompanist, Robin Rakes. The Chorus has also performed with other arts groups including: ProMusica, Ballet Met, Opera Columbus, Anna and the Annadroids, Cincinnati Men's Chorus, and other established singing groups. The Chorus has also performed for the Ohio Democratic Party Fundraising dinner where the Governor Ted Strickland accepted and proudly wore a Chorus pin!
In 2010, CGMC hired Dr. Timothy Sarsany as its Artistic Director, succeeding David Monseur. In this role, Sarsany handles all artistic and programming aspects of the organization and works to increase the organization's presence in the community. In June 2015, Broadway Diva impressionist Christine Pedi performed with the chorus on "Divas: Dead or Alive". On July 4, 2015, CGMC performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on their "Patriotic Pops" concert, not only the first time CGMC teamed up with the CSO, but also the first time a chorus was featured on their July 4th program.
Performances and music
The full Columbus Gay Men's Chorus and ensembles typically performs five concerts per season:
Holiday Joy! Concert (December) Vox Valentine's Concert (February) Spring Concert (Late March) Illuminati's full concert (May) Summer Concert (Late June)
Each concert includes a variety of musical pieces performed by the full Chorus and ensembles; the spring and summer concerts usually involve significant elements of choreography.
Stepping Out; 1995
Joy! - Holiday CD; 2005
Rocket Man - The music of Elton John; 2008
Joy! to the World - Holiday CD; 2013
Membership types and requirements
Membership is open to all people regardless of vocal talent, musical abilities, race, gender, religion, age, physical abilities, sexual orientation or economic means. Singers must be at least 18 years of age.
Vox Alterna was founded in 1991 and established its reputation as an advanced vocal ensemble, performing challenging literature, featuring complex vocal harmonies and a cappella arrangements. Vox later shortened its name and is typically limited to a 18-member ensemble.
In addition to performing with the Chorus, the group often performs at numerous events outside of the performance schedule of the Chorus as well as in its own concert.
Referring to the Latin phrase "the Enlightened Ones", Illuminati was created to respond to the community's expressed desire for performances of a sacred or spiritual context, and is the world's first sacred-only GLBT ensemble.
The group seeks to increase CGMC outreach performances, particularly to religious organizations, while respecting the members' spiritual beliefs.
Illuminati is a non-auditioned ensemble. Participation in Illuminati is open to all members in good standing and, unlike Vox, does not require joint participation in the full Chorus.