The New Orleans Gay Men's Chorus seeks to positively influence diverse communities by providing a musical voice to enrich and enlighten through outreach and the pursuit of artistic excellence.
Inspired by the success of the Windy City Gay Men’s Chorus of Chicago, Louisiana native Jerry Zachary organized the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus with a first rehearsal on June 16th, 1982. Their first public appearance was in Baton Rouge at the Emporium on December 4, 1982. In September 1983, the Chorus traveled to New York City to appear at Lincoln Center with 10 other choruses in the nation’s first festival of gay choruses. These choruses evolved into the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, of which NOGMC is a founding member. The Chorus has performed at every subsequent festival – Minneapolis (1986), Seattle (1989), Denver (1992), Tampa (1996), Montreal (2004), and Miami (2008). Planning is currently underway for NOGMC’s performance in Denver at the next GALA festival in 2012.
The Chorus has hosted joint concerts with many other gay choruses. In 1988 the NOGMC sponsored Showtime at Le Petit Theatre in the French Quarter, which brought together groups from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Madison, Wisconsin, Denver, and Seattle. Other joint concerts have been with choruses from Houston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
In 1996 the chorus hosted the gay men’s chorus from Berlin, Manner Minne. The Chorus was very fortunate to share the stage with this remarkable group here in New Orleans and then meet up with them again at GALA V in Tampa. Männer Minne fell in love with the people and atmosphere of New Orleans and has promised to return.
The Chorus has always tried to support Southeast Louisiana’s gay and lesbian community throughout its history. A short list of the events they have participated in include: caroling from bar to bar in the early years; caroling at C100, C600, Belle Reve, PFLAG, and at Lazarus House; performing for the Lazarus Remembrance Service, AIDS Memorial Dedication, MCC’s Spirit Awards, NO/AIDS Task Force “Art Against AIDS”, World AIDS Day services, HAART, Pride Parades in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Mr. Louisiana Leather contest, and at the Mardi Gras balls of Petronius, Lords of Leather and Armenius.
Although their primary purpose has been to serve the gay community, the chorus also serves as a model of gay pride to the straight world. The Chorus also has performed with the New Orleans Opera Chorus in Aida in 1989, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 entitled “Resurrection” in 2008, and has appeared on news programs on both the local CBS and NBC affiliates. They also sang for the New Orleans World’s Fair, and have caroled at the Riverwalk along the Mississippi River.
The Chorus is proud of its accomplishments in commissioning new works and performances with local celebrities from the world of comedy, opera, popular music, and dance.
In the Fall of 2005, the Chorus began to rehearse and perform in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans.