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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 25, 2005

Sing Out Toledo leaves the stage

Toledo--After eight and a half years, Sing Out Toledo is no more.

One of only two mixed-gender choruses in Ohio�s LGBT community, Sing Out Toledo was formed in September 1996. Since then, it has gone through five directors, six accompanists, and roughly 80 members, leaving it currently with six or seven singers.

The attrition was attributed to a number of factors, including members moving or dropping out to care for children.

The most recent director, according to president Corky Dunsmore and board member Dar Bevelhymer, left after becoming overloaded, while the group�s accompanist finished school and is moving to Indiana to pursue a doctorate.

�We�ve run out of singers, musicians and directors who aren�t already engaged who have that gay and lesbian sensibility,� Dunsmore said.

They noted that many musicians and singers might not mind being associated with a queer-identified chorus, but feel limited by the musical choices the chorus makes to appeal to its audience.

�It has been a struggle to find, not just singers, but someone with the talent to lead the chorus with the gay sensibility for a chorus of gay men and lesbians,� said Bevelymer. She is the only original member who was still singing with the chorus at the end.

�They�re busy with their live and can�t make the commitment,� she continued.

Having registered as a non-profit organization, the board and officers must now take inventory of the chorus� property, including its music library, so that the assets can be liquidated.

Some of the group�s holdings will be sold, while others will be donated to LGBT community organizations.

The proceeds from the sale of the assets will also be donated to local gay and lesbian groups.

Bevelhymer noted that the chorus had received generous grants from the John Domrose Foundation when it was starting and had received great support from the community for their shows, so it was only just that they give to the community as the Domrose foundation gave to them.

The dissolution of Sing Out Toledo leaves Northwest Ohio without a Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses member organization, but it also means that Ohio now only has one mixed-sex GALA chorus, Good Company in Cleveland, which focuses on sacred music.

The other choruses in the state, including men�s choruses in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, as well as Windsong in Cleveland and Muse in Cincinnati, are all gender-specific.

The Dayton Gay Men�s Chorus and the Columbus Women�s Chorus are not listed on the GALA Choruses web site as members of the umbrella organization.

Despite this dark day for Sing Out Toledo, Dunsmore is optimistic about the future for singers in the city, noting that she often sees one group fold, only to have another spring up when someone notices the void.

�If people want to do it, it will come back again,� she said.



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