Featured Band of the Month: New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus
The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus began in 1981 with the name The Brash Ensemble. It started as a sixteen-member group and has varied in size from eight to forty. As one of the country’s first gay men’s choruses the new ensemble functioned as a performing group within its parent organization, Common Bond.
As surprising as it may seem today, early members worried about being openly gay and often found it hard to find a director willing to conduct an openly gay group. The brave conductors during its first decade were Bill Boyer, Alan Stringer, Bob Morris, John Roberts, David Arellanes and Sean Dougherty. For more than half its history, the chorus rehearsed in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, with members driving between the two cities and from as far away as Los Alamos and the East Mountains. No other gay chorus in the country ranged over such a wide geographic area.
In addition to concerts, the chorus has sung for numerous AIDS events, church services, holiday parties, senior centers, the annual Presbyterian hospital tree lighting, with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Zia gay rodeo, Isotope baseball games, the Albuquerque Gay Pride festival, and GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) festivals in 4 other states and Canada. The chorus has also presented in El Paso, Phoenix, Tucson, Taos, Las Cruces, Grants, Socorro, Farmington and Los Alamos, clearly claiming our namesake and making us The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus.
We average between 40 and 50 men singing in the Chorus. Our songs are both modern and classic. We have four major concerts a years. They are the Halloween Cabaret, the Holiday Concert, the Valentine Cabaret and the Pride Concert in June. It is a community chorus open to all men who wish to sing. We rehearse at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and have open auditions in September and January. DVD's of our concerts are available.