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From the Conductor’s Corner

Joe Nadeau is the Artistic Director of GMCLA. He leads and coordinates the artistic excellence you have to come to expect from GMCLA.


As Joe prepares for his first Summer Concert we asked him what we can expect from this performance, and why the chorus takes on socially conscious projects such as I AM HARVEY MILK.

Q: You are coming up on your one-year anniversary with GMCLA and preparing for your first end of season 35 Summer Concert correct? You must be very excited!

Joe: “I’ve been involved with Gay Men’s choruses for over 21 years and have followed and admired GMCLA ever since I started. “Being a part of GMCLA means not just being part of one chorus. GMCLA is part of a larger network of choruses from around the world that make up GALA, which is the Gay & Lesbian Association of Choruses. I am totally honored to be part of this organization and excited to be coming up on my first year with GMCLA!”

Q: What makes this Season 35 Anniversary Concert unique and special and why this format and collaboration for your first Summer show?

Joe: “Last year, marked the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk and of Mayor Moscone. When this happened up in San Francisco, a group of men had just recently formed who would later be known as the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. It was at the candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone, where these men first sang, and marked the first public performance of a gay men’s chorus. It was San Francisco who first used the word “gay” as a part of the name. Less than a year later, GMCLA was formed in Los Angeles and are thus forever tied to this event that left a lasting impact on the LGBT community. To mark their 35th anniversary and pay tribute to Harvey Milk, SFGMC Artistic Director Dr. Tim Seelig sought to collaborate with six other choruses to contribute and co-commission this work and develop this project we are now bringing to LA.”

Q: How do chorus members respond to important works such as I AM HARVEY MILK and why do you think this is important for GMCLA to perform?

Joe: “If you look at the historical musical repertoire and body of work of gay men’s choruses they symbolize and tell stories that impacted the LGBT community throughout history. In the 80’s there were countless stories of loss and the devastating impact of AIDS on gay men’s choruses and our community. In the 90’s and the 2000’s, we are increasingly singing about issues of LGBT civil rights, marriage equality and bullying our community is currently facing.

There are many reasons why people join gay men’s choruses. Most come and join for musical reasons, and they stay because they become part of a family, part of something bigger than them and provides them with a sense of community. Being involved in the chorus means belonging to and creating a movement where we are telling our stories through music. We have taken this on as an obligation, where it is part of our duty to portray stories convey our LGBT history, through movement and song.”

Joe concludes: “For a concert like this, which brings choral communities from seven other cities onto one stage, we are creating and bringing together something that is bigger than ourselves. We are in the middle of making history, and often times we don’t even realize it. This event will be musical and LGBT community history in the making!”

“I hope you ‘come-out’ and join us for this epic, historical musical and community experience.”


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