Highlighting the amazing talents and backgrounds of the members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles,
we're proud to celebrate the beautiful diversity of men who make up the rich musical tapestry of our ensemble.
I sang in the Boston Concert Opera chorus many decades ago. I sang in a church choir many years ago. I joined GMCLA in January 2020 in order to sing with a group again and to improve my musicianship. And, wait for it, to meet musical gay men. But there was COVID, so our first live concert was almost 2 years later, in December 2021. I actually wasn’t sure I belonged. I worried that I wasn’t good enough. The curtain rose on act I. The audience cheered. I wept. Then there was concert #2, April 2022. And the overture. And the curtain. And the Audience. And “The Show Must Go On,” my favorite song bar none. I wept again, OMG. Then came June: two Pride parades, a GMCLA concert outdoors in Plummer park, and the Sunday service at FCCLA. And I had friends in chorus. And I belonged!
I am the GMCLA Tenor 2 Section Representative and have been a member since January 2022. Performing Queen as my first concert was an amazing way to kick off my experience with GMCLA. The crowd went wild over it, I got to wear leather, and I felt a personal connection to the music. Our fabulous social events have also allowed me to build great bonds with gay members from all ages and backgrounds with a shared passion for singing.
My favorite musical moment with GMCLA was shooting the video for We Shall Be Free at the Getty Center during the pandemic to celebrate Pride virtually. To be surrounded by my brothers, while I was able to sing a solo on a song which resonated so deeply with what was going on with the country, and myself personally, was such an impactful moment on me. The fact that it was also my birthday, and I was serenaded by everyone, was icing on the cake. The day perfectly married the chorus's traits of community, activism, and family to create an unforgettable moment for me. That, and recording Rush, Rush with Paula Abdul in the studio were both life changing moments.
Participating in our Alive Music Project is my most enjoyable part of being in the chorus. To be a voice to a teenage version of myself, letting them know they are represented and will make it through whatever confusion they might be currently feeling, fills me with a sense of pride, and I participate in every one that I can possibly attend. I am looking forward to serving as the Membership Vice President this season to help continue to build our brotherhood bonds, having lots of fun together, and continuing to make kick-ass musical moments that change people’s hearts and minds.
I’ve been singing with GMCLA since 2003. I’m a first generation Filipino-American, whose parents were born and raised in the Philippines. When I came out to my parents in college, it did not go well, and our relationship seemed broken beyond repair. It was devastating, and we did not have any meaningful contact for almost a decade. As an out gay man, I lived my life for the first time as my true authentic self. I started my career and I joined GMCLA – where I met my future husband. He recognized how much I missed having a connection with my parents and was instrumental in helping repair that relationship.
In an effort to find common ground, my father shared stories about being discriminated against as a Filipino in the US in the 60’s. He recalled in 1967 when the Supreme Court finally legalized interracial
marriage, saying he could finally understand the importance of Marriage Equality for all. My mother gave us custom Barongs, the traditional formal wear for Filipino men, made by the same shop that made her own wedding dress. She hoped we would wear these Barongs at our wedding someday…and we did. During our time apart, I had no idea that my parents were on their own journey of acceptance, just like
me. I realized that even though I didn’t witness their growth over the years, they had grown and evolved too. My parents have since passed, but we enjoyed many visits and happy memories after reconciling.
Any tears of sorrow eventually became tears of joy, and we embraced that what mattered for us is that family is family, and love is love.
As a teenager, I could never have imagined seeing a gay men’s chorus perform at my high school. My teenage self, struggling with what it meant to be gay, would have felt seen and supported by GMCLA’s
Alive Music Project, where we get to present our music and our life stories in schools across Los Angeles. Visibility inspires hope, and hope creates change. That is why I sing with GMCLA.
I have been singing for my entire life. Music was integral throughout my education, and remains a continuous through line to today. I have been with GMCLA for 15 years, and I love my fraternal family. I have been blessed with a biological family who have always supported my love of music and performance. My logical family are also proud members of GMCLA and when we all say this our “family thing” we mean it! Additionally, to serve and create connections with our larger queer community, we partner with the LA LGBTQ+ Center's Triangle Square Senior Living community to bring GMCLA members and Triangle Square residents together for games, food and fun!! It's our way to give back to our queer elders. As a current public high school administrator, I have been lucky enough to bring GMCLA’s Alive Music Project to my current high school twice in the past five years. Both times I have been able to proudly attend and sing while my brothers tell their stories to all the teachers and kids in attendance. In performance, we make our school a safe place for our LGBTQ+ students and staff. I believe GMCLA’s Alive Music Project is saving lives with every performance. These connections are important to the queer kids who were like me. Our stories and our lives are used to make all the difference.