Sing Out Louise! A SGMC Broadway CelebrationSGMC

by Chris Narloch

If you attend one of the three performances the SGMC (Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus) is hosting over the weekend of April 16 – and you should, based on a dynamite rehearsal we heard recently – you might not be thinking about the history of this illustrious group.

You’ll be too busy snapping your fingers, tapping your toes, and singing along. Before you go to the show then, we thought we would fill you in on a bit of the group’s impressive career.



The Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus, still going strong after more than 25 years, started in the fall of 1984, and the group was an outgrowth of Pillars, a gay men’s social networking group.

“Several of us enjoyed singing, and we formed the chorus as a way to have a social outlet with other gay men,” according to original (and returning) member, Frank Lawler. SGMC

Although they had a lot of fun, the chorus was always very serious about making music that their audiences would enjoy.

The chorus has also been supportive of causes that are important to the gay community, and during the early years of AIDS, SGMC sang at countless memorial services. (At last count, there were at least 40 members of the chorus that have died of AIDS.)

“Singing at those memorial services was always very cathartic for the chorus and for the audience,” says Lawler. “We were fortunate to be able to share the gift of music with a community that was suffering.”

SGMC’s next performances will be on a more joyous note. Their tribute to Broadway features a host of musical favorites, including “I Am What I Am,” “Send in the Clowns,” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” as well as selections from Avenue Q, Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray and Jersey Boys.

“This concert is all about Broadway,” said Chorus Artistic Director Paul Jones, who has been directing the Chorus since 2005.  “It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got the chorus up and moving and the audience is going to want to also. It’s definitely going to put a smile on their face.”

A part of each Chorus program is the song “A Rhythym of Life. “It was actually one of the first songs the Chorus performed 25 years ago,” said Jones. “It started with our late director emeritus Carl Nalui who passed away last year. It has become our encore song and a chance to bring up chorus members who are no longer singing with the chorus and as remembrance of the chorus members who have been lost.”SGMC

The Chorus is now 43 voices strong, along with a dedicated crew of volunteers who help with ticket sales, getting the stage set up and making sure that everything goes on without a hitch.

Jones enjoys the challenges of a large chorus. “Watching it grow and seeing the influx of new, younger members and the energy they bring to the chorus, that’s the best part,” he said.

SGMC is scheduled to perform Sing Out Louise! (A Broadway Celebration) on Friday April 16 and Saturday April 17 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday April 18at 3 p.m.  at the First United Methodist Church, located at 2100 J St. in Sacramento.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance at the Gifted Gardener, located at 1730 J St. or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/98863SGMC

For more information, visit www.sgmchorus.org or call 877-283-1567.


 

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