Gay Men’s Chorus Brings Entertainment and LessonsBy Art & Entertainment @ 9:00 AM February 16, 2012
From Tony Spano
The Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts hosted the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles last Friday.
The AVPA Chamber Singers, conducted by Assistant Director Aaron Sim, performs for members of the Gay Men’s Chorus
As part of their “Alive Music Project,” the Gay Men’s Chorus performed for 500 students, including a dozen classes and nearly 200 AVPA students.
The chorus performed several songs, including “Imagine” and “True Colors.” The presentation included personal stories from several members of the chorus, sharing their experiences as gay men, overcoming prejudice, and how much joy they derive from singing.
Founded more than 30 years ago, the Gay Men’s Chorus has used music to overcome prejudice. While every year 85 percent of LGBT, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, students in American schools experience physical or verbal abuse, the new FAIR Education Act of 2011 was passed in order to help combat bullying of LGBT students.
The act supports the inclusion of LGBT individuals and their contributions to American history and modern life. One of the goals of the “Alive Music Project” presentation is to stimulate discussions about Harvey Milk, the Stonewall Uprising and Matthew Shepard, among other subjects.
The goal of the Gay Men’s Chorus is to show students, gay or straight, that they can find their own voice through music or whatever medium they choose by staying in school and treating each other with kindness and respect.
Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Jason Armstrong also provided a master class with the AVPA Chamber Singers the day before. He worked with the Chamber Singers on two selections, giving them feedback on their performance and providing great insights into singing and vocal production. The Chamber Singers also performed one song for the members of the Gay Men’s Chorus after last Friday’s presentation.
“It was just great to have Jason come work with us,” said Eric Mandzuch, senior and President of the AVPA Chamber Singers. “We learned a lot, and then to got to hear the chorus. They were amazing.”