New members are always welcome. Join the RGMC throughout the year as we sing and perform in the Rochester area and then join us at rehearsals so you to can sing with us on stage. Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings, from 7 to 9:30 pm, at Community Christian Church, 2647 Chili Avenue , Rochester, NY 14624. Each cycle includes a Saturday rehearsal retreat and one to two sectionals. The holiday cycle runs from September through December, the spring cycle starts in January and runs through March and the Pride cycle starts in April and runs through July.
The RGMC invites all who are interested in singing to attend a new member meeting and voice placements. During voice placement, our Artistic Director, Wilson Southerland, will take a few minutes to listen to your range and voice type using some simple vocalization. The voice placement is also an opportunity to chat with Wilson about what you'd like to gain from your choral experience with RGMC and to discuss the most effective ways for you to contribute to the ensemble.
The chorus is divided into four sections: Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Baritone and Bass. All you need is a desire to sing, a voice range within one of the four sections and attendance at rehearsals and the retreat. The chorus is a membership based organization and each member is required to pay dues and volunteer throughout the cycle. Members who are not able to pay dues can receive financial assistance. No one is denied membership due to inability to pay dues.
For more information about joining email us. We will get back to you with dates and times of our next new member meeting. Join the fun, come sing with us now!
In the summer of 1986 members of RGMC saw and fell in love with the Emerald City Stompers, a tap-dancing troupe from Seattle. The fledgling RGMC had flown to Minneapolis to attend the
second Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) festival, and there discovered not only beautiful choral singing, but dance!
Upon returning from Minneapolis the chorus decided that Rochester needed a dance troupe too! Telephone calls started to Jerry Algoser who recommended Cayla Allen as a potential
choreographer, and she said YES for the next 20 years! It was decided that the initial troupe would be limited to 8 dancers and auditions were held. The first Rochettes were David Merrit, Michael Holden, David Knoll, David Skinner, Randy Wiscomb, Charles Weber, Chuck Lundeen and bruce d. mcClung who is credited with naming the “Rochettes” in homage to the Radio City Rockettes!
With the first Rochette troupe assembled, the first performance would be SIX WEEKS later for a debut at a GALA exchange concert in Detroit, Michigan! From there the Rochettes would go on to dance in cities stretched across the map from Seattle to Tampa, from Montreal to Toronto, from Chicago to Jones Pond Campground!
For many years the Rochettes sang while tap dancing. Remember “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in Shirley Temple drag? That’s a good example of what the Rochettes brought to many concerts. Some would say the dancers were “lavender lovelies” providing a relief valve during more serious concerts. Others have said of our dance, “It was another vulgar spectacle.” We can own both of those descriptors as we’ve chosen to celebrate our bodies and experiences as gay men through dance.
What seems a distant, though important part of our history is that the RGMC and the Rochettes were born during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Standing up and singing for and dancing for our
lives was a reality. With gay men, lovers, and friends dying around us, it was imperative that we bring beauty and laughter and dignity into our shared lives and into the public sphere.
For nearly 40 years the Rochettes have taken to the stage, often in colorful costumes, with as many as 15 dancers and as few as five. To date 73 men have stepped into dance shoes as a Rochette and all have been shaped by dedicated choreographers like Cayla Allen, Ericka Atkinson, and Jamie Lee Proteus. In dance studios across Rochester, our choreographers have taken us from basic tap to jazz squares to hip hop - all on a count of 8 - and we are grateful!
We find ourselves in the year 2023 and again (or still) we are singing and dancing for our lives; this time in the face of legislation aimed at erasing our identity and denying our trans siblings healthcare. As long as we have breath and can count to 8, we won’t stop dancing for the inclusion of, and celebration of our LGBTQ+ lives. Thank you, Rochester, for your support all along the
Want more information on how to join the Rochettes? To find out more email email@example.com.
Interested in helping the Rochester Gay Men's Chorus behind-the-scenes?
The RGMC is always looking for dedicated volunteers to support our many events and activities throughout the year.
Opportunities include, but are not limited to:
• Stuffers (mailings, envelope stuffing, etc.)
• Costumers – (costume organization & maintenance)
• Party / Event Organizers (kickoffs, announcements, etc.)
• Marketers (publicity, advertising, etc.)
No experience required!
To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 423-0650.