Pride in song
Choruses across Ohio lift
With Pride Month come many things: tans, parades, festivals, dance parties, pancake breakfasts, interfaith services and the like.
One of the most glittering attractions of June in Ohio, however, is the multitude of chorus concerts across the state. Many of the choruses perform at their cities� Pride festivities in addition to their own concerts, a stressful, taxing double-duty that does nothing if not illustrate their dedication to the LGBT community.
June kicks off with �The Best of Times,� the Cincinnati Men�s Chorus� start to Pride Week in the Queen City.
�We�re having fun with �The Best of Times� because it truly is the music of our lives,� said Patrick O. Coyle, now in his 11th year leading the chorus. �Of course, the title comes from the consummate gay musical La Cage aux Folles, and that song is our finale. Other stage and film favorites are highlights of the show.�
Some of the selections include a suite from Brokeback Mountain, a selection by gay composer/pianist Leonard Bernstein, and �For Good� from Wicked, a musical about the early life of the Wicked Witch of the West, as well as selections from Altar Boyz.
The concerts, on June 2 and 3 at 8 pm, will benefit Equality Cincinnati�s Safe Schools Project. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. The concerts will be held at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church, 103 William Howard Taft Road in Cincinnati. For tickets or more information, go to www.cincinnatimenschorus.org or call 513-5422626.
The Dayton Gay Men�s Chorus will be doing triple duty in June, appearing at the Pride Festival on Courthouse Square on June 3 and the Pride Dinner on June 17 at the David H. Ponitz Center.
The centerpiece of their month, however, will be their �Divas!� concert on June 10 at 8 pm. The show will be at the Smith Auditorium of the Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College, 444 West Third Street in Dayton. For more information, go to www.daytongaymenschorus.com or call 937-4430144.
While both Windsong, Cleveland�s feminist chorus, and the Columbus Women�s Chorus had concerts in May, Muse will be presenting �The Great Peace March� in June 9 and 10 at New Thought Unity Center, 1401 East McMillan Street in Cincinnati.
Holly Near will be singing with the chorus, and peace activist Cindy Sheehan and Muslim Mothers Against Violence will be holding pre-concert teach-ins at 7 pm.
In addition to the June 9 presentation by Sheehan and the June 10 presentation by the Muslim Mothers, Muse will also present its fourth annual Enduring Spirit Award, recognizing a woman who embodies the Muse philosophy: a commitment to feminism, diversity, musical excellence, community service and social justice.
For more information about the show, go to www.musechoir.org or call 513-2211118. Tickets for the shows, including the teach-ins, are sold on a sliding scale of $8-$25 in advance, $20 at the door.
The same weekend, the North Coast Men�s Chorus presents �The Colors of Our Lives� on June 10 and 11 at Cleveland State University�s Waetjen Auditorium, 2001 Euclid Avenue.
The Pride-themed concert will also feature a medley of western-themed songs in a nod to the success of Brokeback Mountain, while including selections from Broadway�s Aida, the film Camp, and �choral-ography� by Lora Workman.
Rich Cole, in his eighth year as the artistic director for the chorus, describes �The Colors of Our Lives� as �a musical celebration, showing, proudly and without excuses, how we are who we are; a show about finding our way out of the shadows and into bright light of day; about how living our lives proudly and openly will ensure that the dream of freedom for all will soon be a reality.��
Showtime is at 8 pm on Saturday and 3 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $17 for either show and available on www.ncmchorus.org. More information can be found on the website or by calling 216-5560590.
Sadly, Windsong won�t be performing a Pride concert, either on their own or at Cleveland Pride. Well, it�s sad for northeast Ohio audiences, but it�s a wonderful thing for them, since a group of women from the chorus are attending Western Sol, the Sister Singers Network Festival in San Diego on June 16-18. Joining with over a dozen other women�s choruses, there will be three days of performances, and Windsong�s director Karen Weaver was selected to direct one of the two mass chorus performances of the weekend.
The final concerts of Pride Month are thoseof the Columbus Gay Men�s Chorus, who are going back to a kinder, gentler time with �That �70s Concert� on June 16 and 17 at the Capitol Theater in the Verne Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 South High Street.
�It is tricky to pick songs for a concert that reflects the music of an entire decade and not leave something out,� said David Monseur, the chorus� artistic director.
For the far out and groovy concert, he started with the basics, with selections from ABBA, the Carpenters, Chicago, Cat Stevens, Donna Summer, James Taylor and Three Dog Night, among many others.
Audience members are encouraged to dress the part, donning their finest, most flamboyant 1970s regalia. Why should the people onstage get to have all the fun?
Both shows are at 8 pm, and tickets range from $23 to $28, available from Ticketmaster at 614-4313600 or www.ticketmaster.com. More information about the chorus and its concerts is available by calling 614-2282462 or online at www.cgmc.com.