RGMC Attends Denver GALA 2016
Twenty-one members of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus traveled to Denver, Colorado, July 2-6 to give Rochester strong representation at the tenth quadrennial Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses) Festival. In addition to performing at the festival, the group had the opportunity to network with gay and lesbian choruses from around the country — large and small, new and seasoned — swapping stories and best practices to help each other grow. It was a week of community building and deeply rooted support, much appreciated by all those in attendance.
RGMC singer Tony Jagla was moved by the feeling of "being surrounded by 6,000 people who all had the same goal — to sing and enjoy each other's company, free from anything or anyone who tried to keep us down."
It was a mutual sentiment. At a group dinner on the last night of the festival, RGMC Artistic Director Rob Strauss asked each member to write down three things they liked about the trip. The most common answer on those pieces of paper? Camaraderie.
- the variety of choral sounds and music styles
- amazing performances
- exquisite venues
- seeing so many new RGMC members attend and be excited about our performance
- our partnership with transgender folks to deliver a powerful message
- the friendships made
- the humor and campiness that choruses delivered
- the variety of the workshops
- finding ideas to bring back
- feeling inspired to grow myself and our chorus
- how loving and supportive the audiences were
- cheering on other choruses
- realizing our voices and singing DO make a difference
The excitement started on day one, when the group discovered banners displayed throughout downtown Denver welcoming each chorus by name — and, of course, raced to track down the RGMC's!
During their festival performance, the chorus was thrilled to collaborate with Lindsey Deaton, the artistic director of the Trans* Chorus of Los Angeles, who read the names of transgender people whose lives were taken by violence over the last twelve months, while the chorus sang “Names” by Rochester composer Mark Alan DeWaters. Lindsey, a trans woman herself, described the group as “the definition of true allies” to the transgender community for using their voices to give voice to her community.
The RGMC came back with a strong sense of purpose from all the performances they saw, the workshops they attended, and the friends they made from across the country and beyond. This trip reminded our chorus members and their fellow attendees of the shared power of music — to transform, to heal, to reaffirm, to unite.
Take a look back four years ago when the RGMC attended Denver GALA 2012!