Music in Mid-Ohio: Columbus Gay Men's Chorus

Apr 13, 2020

The Music in Mid-Ohio series presents performances given locally, sometimes by your friends and neighbors, and sometimes by guests. The series aired Sundays at 1 p.m. on Classical 101, usually from May to September.

Now, with our venues closed and concerts cancelled, I'm taking Music in Mid-Ohio to the web.

I think everybody should be singing.

The Columbus Gay Men's Chorus has been singing for over thirty years.

Their annual season of performances is divided between the King Avenue United Methodist Church, the Lincoln Theater and churches and concert halls throughout Central Ohio.

There is a main stage unauditioned choir, packed with exuberance, talent and light.

Church-trained singers find a home with "Illuminati," a chorus that can be heard regularly in places of worship.

Vox is an auditioned ensemble of 14 to 18 singers, and both smaller ensembles complement the main stage Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus.

(Yes I know this is a lotta Christmas music and it's not Christmas. But we need it now, so let's go ahead and have it.)

Music directors have included David Monseur, Tim Sarsany, OSU’s Robert Ward, and today, Jared Brayton Bollenbacher.

The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus began life in the early 1980s in response to the AIDS crisis that was decimating that city and the world. Not long after, the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus made its debut. The rest of the world followed Columbus. The rest of the world usually does.

When I was quite young, I sold records (not yet CDs) at a large department store in New York. The location in Rockefeller Center meant the place kept busy. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus put out a Christmas recording around 1984. The minute this disc hit the stores, you didn’t know from busy. We were swamped. Hours had to be extended and lines formed on Fifth Avenue (hard to do in the Christmas crowds) to buy the first recording with the words Gay Men’s Chorus on the cover.

The point being that in times of crisis, people sing. People come together with music. They come together for political reasons, for comfort and for community. It happened then and it's happening now.

The Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus was among the first to throw its arms around anyone wanting the joy and comfort of music.

Now more than ever.