NBC4 News – GMCW’s Groundbreaking Tour

August 13, 2015

NBC4 News followed us on our tour to Cuba. The story aired on the 6pm news and is now available online HERE.

Click here to see behind-the-scenes footage of our Cuba trip.

Special thanks to Rick Yarborough and Wendy Rieger.

Feeling Heard

Feeling Heard: Meeting the LGBTQ Community in Cuba
by Chase Maggiano, Executive Director

Posted on the Center for Transatlantic Relations website July 30.2015
Reflections on the GMCW Cuba trip

Click HERE to read the article.

GMCW Cuba Tour Schedule Announced

GMCW Announces Performance Schedule for First-Ever
Gay Chorus Tour of Cuba

Ten performances planned including first-ever performance with Cuba’s new gay chorus and tour finale at the prestigious Casa de las Americas.

Washington, DC (July 1, 2015) – The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) today announced the performance schedule for their first-ever tour of Cuba by a gay chorus, set to take place from July 11-19, 2015. The schedule of nine performances is nearly twice as large as previously announced and includes a first-ever performance by GMCW with Mano a Mano, Cuba’s new gay chorus, and a tour finale event at the Casa de las Americas, one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in Cuba.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to perform at nine different locations in and around Havana during our tour of Cuba and we look forward to meeting with and learning from Cubans of all walks of life in settings as diverse as a block party and one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the country,” said GMCW Executive Director Chase Maggiano. “Person-to-person exchange is vital to fostering understanding and acceptance and we are ready to use the power of song to help open lines of communication about social policy and LGBTQ equality.”

The tour performance schedule is as follows:
• Sunday, July 12 – 3:00pm – Exchange with the Marina de Gonitch Chorus. Will meet members of the chorus and exchange experiences. Each chorus will sing for ½ hour each. Location: Casa de la Amistad – (House of Friendship).
• Monday, July 13 – 11:00am – GMCW will perform at the National Library of Havana for 1 hour. Location: National Library Auditorium.
• Monday, July 13 – 3:30pm – Visit the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture) in Arroyo Naranjo, a suburb of the city of Havana. Dance and singing presentation by Cuban children. Following the presentation the GMCW will perform. ½ hour each.
• Monday, July 13 – 8:30pm – Block party in a residential area of Havana. Street will be blocked and the GMCW will perform for 1 hour during the block party.
• Wednesday, July 15 – 2:30pm – Visit with CENESEX. The visit will take place at ICAP – Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos – (Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples) Dr. Mariela Castro Espin has been officially invited to exchange with the GMCW Delegation for 2 hours. Following the meeting the GMCW & Cuba’s gay chorus “Mano a Mano” will perform.
• Wednesday, July 15 – 7:30pm – GMCW will perform at the Quinta Avenida Hotel for special invited guests. Performance 1 hour (cocktail reception)
• Thursday, July 16 – 9:30am – Visit to the Convento Nuestras Señora de Belen – (Convent of Our Lady of Bethlehem). There will be a presentation by the Convent & the GMCW will perform for the community and the elderly that are part of the convent’s program. Program ½ hour each.
• Friday, July 17 – 2:30 – Bebe Company will perform at Teatro/Theater “Bertold Brecht” with a variety of children’s program. The GMCW will perform following the presentation. Program ½ hour each.
• Friday, July 17 – 7:00pm – Visit the prestigious Casa de las Americas – GMCW will perform in the Ernesto Che Guevara room. Program 1 hour.

The tour, which is being conducted in partnership with Youth For Understanding USA (YFU), will mark the first time a gay chorus has toured the country and the first time YFU has hosted an adult exchange program anywhere in the world.

For information on tour coverage, photo availability and interviews with GMCW leaders, please contact Ben Finzel at 202-277-6286 or ben@renewpr.com.

2015-2016 Season Announced

Contact: Craig Cipollini, Director of Marketing
Email: ccipollini@gmcw.org

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC Announces its 2015-2016 Season

Washington, DC – The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) has announced its 2015-2016 Season celebrating their 35th Anniversary. Under the direction of Artistic Director Thea Kano, the 35th Anniversary season will include three full-chorus chorus, a concert for two select vocal ensembles, a cabaret and a season-opening fundraiser.

The 2015-2016 Season includes: The S* ShowRewrapped; The Way We Were; Boots, Class & Sass and Carmina Burana/35th Anniversary Concert. Venues for the season include the Lincoln Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information or to subscribe, call 202-293-1548 or visit their website at www.gmcw.org.


5 Star Review for Born This Way

MAY 19, 2015

Critic David Friscic of DC Metro Theatre Arts gives GMCW’s production of Born This Way 5 Stars! Click HERE to read the review.

Thank you to David Friscic and everyone at DC Metro Theatre Arts!

GMCW to host equality panel discussion

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC to Host Dialogue on Equality
DC Event Takes Place in Conjunction with Born This Way Concerts
and Debut of LGBTQA Youth Chorus

Washington, D.C. — Demonstrating the power of music to unite people and to remind us of the common bonds we share, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) will host a dialogue on equality, civil rights and the American experience following the matinee performance of the chorus’ Born This Way concert on Saturday, May 16. The dialogue, in the form of a discussion panel moderated by the Right Reverend Gene Robinson, will be held at DC’s Historic Lincoln Theater on U Street.

“There has been so much turmoil and discord in our recent American history,” stated GMCW Executive Director Chase Maggiano. “Our Born This Way concert combined with this important dialogue on civil rights highlights our effort to use arts and culture – through the power of music – to demonstrate our common humanity. It’s a vital conversation and one that we are proud to foster and promote.”

Born This Way features the full chorus of 200 singers. The concert is built around songs and stories from civil and equal rights movements, featuring songs such as “Over the Rainbow,” “Proud,” “Stay with Me,” “Glory,” “Define Me” and “Impossible Dream.” Joining GMCW for this special concert will be recording artist Maiya Sykes from NBC-TV’s The Voice. The concert will also feature the debut of the GenOUT Chorus, the first LGBTQA youth chorus in the area. The chorus is comprised of both male and female LGBTQ and allied students ranging in age from 12-18.

GMCW’s national equality dialogue, moderated by the Right Reverend Bishop Gene Robinson, will explore the throughlines that multiple equality movements have in common. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will be a special guest along with the leaders of four national organizations focused on LGBTQ equality. For more information, visit the GMCW website: www.gmcw.org.

WHAT: DC dialogue on national equality issues

WHERE: Lincoln Theater, 1215 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 5:15pm

WHO: The Right Reverend Bishop Gene Robinson; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; Bradley Sears – Executive Director, Williams Institute; Kevin Jennings – Executive Director, Arcus Foundation; Mara Keisling – Founder, National Center for Transgender Equality; Sultan Shakir – Executive Director, SMYAL

Note: Bradley Sears and Kevin Jennings will receive GMCW’s Harmony Award during the discussion event in recognition of their outstanding service to LGBT and civil rights.

Gay Mens Chorus to Visit Cuba

April 22, 2015
For information contact:
Ben Finzel, RENEWPR


Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, in partnership with Youth For Understanding USA, to Conduct First-Ever Gay Chorus Visit to Cuba

Historic concert tour will match GMCW’s mission to raise awareness and promote LGBTQ equality with YFU’s mission to advance intercultural understanding

Washington, DC (April 22, 2015) — The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) and Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) today announced they will partner to conduct a first-ever visit by a gay chorus to Cuba. The nine-day concert tour, to take place July 10-18, 2015, will seek to raise awareness of issues faced by LGBTQ communities. The tour will encompass five performances in and around Havana and will include public forums designed to open lines of communication about social policy and LGBTQ equality.

“We have an incredible opportunity to help make a difference in the perception of the US and of LGBTQ people with this historic visit,” said Chase Maggiano, executive director of the GMCW. “Thanks to our partnership with YFU, we will be able to meet the increasingly visible LGBTQ community in and around Havana and share our stories and learn new ones. As we know from our long history of concerts worldwide, person to person interaction can be a key driver of social change. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to help advance the dialogue by serving as cultural ambassadors.”

The partnership between GMCW as a musical entity and YFU as an international educational entity gives this tour cultural sanction, where travel to Cuba is still limited to educational, religious, cultural, humanitarian and family purposes. Concerts in the tour will take place at prestigious locations in Cuba such as the Franciscan Monastery, and the group will meet with representatives from the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), a government-funded entity spearheaded by Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro. The tour is licensed through People to People Exchange, and operated in collaboration with Interplanner, the first and longest running provider of travel services between the US and Cuba.

Michael E. Hill, President & CEO of YFU, said the trip blends the two organizations’ missions perfectly. “YFU is a catalyst for positive global change, and innovative programs like this provide the ultimate reality check to a worldview based on stereotypes, ” Hill said. “Cultural exchange reinforces our common humanity. We are thrilled to be making this historic journey with GMCW, which represents our first-ever adult excursion.“

On the tour, the chorus will have the opportunity to enjoy Cuba’s distinctive culture, with an itinerary focused on the arts, education, health, and schools, along with the island’s unique cuisine, music and architecture. The trip will offer many opportunities to meet with local business owners, artisans, lecturers, and everyday citizens. Representatives of the two GMCW traveling ensembles, Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers, will comprise the performance chorus for this tour. They will be joined by GMCW and YFU staff and guests. More information on the tour is available at www.yfuusa.org/tours.


About Youth For Understanding USA (YFU):

For learners of all ages who want a life-changing cultural exchange experience, Youth For Understanding (YFU) offers a wide range of opportunities to see the world up close. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 70 different countries, is united by the belief that curiosity about the world expands cultural awareness and acceptance of other ways to live, which leads to broader perspective and greater understanding. YFU’s unique intercultural exchanges open minds and hearts, enable learning that transforms lives, change the way you see the world and help to overcome stereotypes.  Since 1951, YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services.

Mission: YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. 

Website: yfuusa.org/tours

Media Contact: Alicia Kubert Smith, 202.774.5202, akubert@yfu.org

About the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW)

Under the direction of Artistic Director Thea Kano, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC is in its 34th season with a mission that is dynamic and socially-relevant. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington delights audiences and champions gay equality with robust artistry, fun and surprise. GMCW has more than 220 singing members, two select vocal ensembles, 100 support volunteers, more than 400 subscribers, 500 donors and an annual audience of more than 10,000 people.

GMCW is honored to include in its history iconic venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the White House, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Lincoln Memorial, presidential inauguration celebrations, and more. GMCW features two select outreach vocal ensembles: Potomac Fever, a 14-voice close harmony group, and Rock Creek Singers, a 35-voice chamber ensemble.

Since 2001, GMCW has maintained a robust youth outreach program, GenOUT, that offers free tickets to high school students, parents and teachers, in addition to offering in-school outreach and empowerment programs. The Chorus demonstrates its commitment to community outreach projects by participating in the Whitman-Walker AIDS Walk, an annual toy drive to benefit Community Family Life Services, Christmas Eve caroling at the National Institutes of Health and volunteering at Food & Friends. GMCW is a proud member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses) and Chorus America.

Mission: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington delights audiences and champions gay equality with robust artistry, fun, and surprise.

Website: gmcw.org

Media Contact: Craig Cipollini, 202.293.1548, ccipollini@gmcw.org

GMCW Tickets

2015 Harmony Award Winners

CONTACT: Craig Cipollini
March 19, 2015
(202) 293-1548

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC
Announces 2015 Harmony Award Recipients

Washington, D.C. — The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) is pleased to announce its 2015 Harmony Award recipients. GMCW will honor a cutting edge think tank, a transformational philanthropist, and an inspired non-profit leader and chorus member. The awards are given to an individual from the community, an organization, and/or an individual from within the Chorus family who exemplify GMCW’s mission and work to champion gay equality. While all three categories are not always presented each year, there has been so much progress in the LGBTQ movement that the Board of Directors of GMCW felt that honors in all three categories were deserved.

The Williams Institute, a think tank dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, will receive the 2015 Community Organization Harmony Award. Founded by Chuck Williams and led by R. Bradley Sears, the Williams Institute has produced and disseminated high-quality research affecting nearly every major policy advancement for the LGBTQ community in recent years. This includes the basis for Justice Kennedy, during the Proposition 8 arguments, citing an “immediate legal injury” faced by 40,000 kids living in same-sex households who want to see full legal recognition for their parents. Experts at the Williams Institute have authored dozens of public policy studies and law review articles, filed amicus briefs in key court cases, provided expert testimony and trained thousands of lawyers, judges and members of the public.

Kevin Jennings is receiving the Community Individual Harmony Award. Jennings is executive director of the Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Among countless achievements, Jennings was the nation’s first faculty advisor to a gay-straight alliance. He went on in 1990 to found GLSEN, the national organization which works with students, teachers, parents and community members to end LGBT bias in schools. Jennings’ vision led to programs such as Gay-Straight Alliance and the Day of Silence becoming commonplace in American schools. After stepping down as head of GLSEN, Jennings was appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools under the Obama administration. One of the ways he used this position to shine the light on student safety, classroom discipline, and bullying was by hosting the first ever National Bullying Summit.

GMCW’s Chorus Individual Harmony Award is presented each year to a singer who has made a significant impact on the life of the chorus. Michael Hill, a member since 2003 who has served as Board Chair, directed multiple fundraising efforts, led GMCW to begin long-term marketing strategies, chaired the 2011 strategic planning effort, and most recently chaired the search committee for GMCW’s new artistic director, is the recipient of this honor. Hill, who is a talented singer among the alumnus of Potomac Fever, is also well-known in the greater arts community as a fundraiser, communications expert, and professor of arts management at George Mason University.

Hill’s passion for service is not limited to music, as he has spent a lifetime of service in his professional life. As the President and CEO of Youth For Understanding, one of the world’s largest international educational exchange programs, Hill is elevating the profile and reach of the historic organization by expanding the organization’s work to more publics including those with financial need, students with disabilities and increasing focus on child safety issues. Prior to joining YFU, Hill led fundraising, international public education, and marketing efforts as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for United Cerebral Palsy.

The Harmony Awards will be presented at two different events in the spring of 2015. Michael Hill will be honored at GMCW’s annual Spring Affair fundraising gala on Saturday, May 2 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel located at 1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC. Kevin Jennings and Bradley Sears – on behalf of the Williams Institute – will be honored at GMCW’s concert Born This Way on May 16 at the Lincoln Theatre, in DC’s historic U Street neighborhood. After the 3pm matinee, Jennings and Sears will participate in a discussion panel for the audience with leaders from multiple civil rights movements discussing the through-lines of equality struggles. This panel will be moderated by GMCW Board Member Bishop Gene Robinson and is free and open to the public. Information about both events can be found on our website.

GMCW Tickets

4 1/2 Star Review for When You Wish

MARCH 15, 2015

Critic David Friscic of DC Metro Theatre Arts gives GMCW’s production of When You Wish 4 1/2 Stars! Click HERE to read the review.

Thank you to David Friscic and everyone at DC Metro Theatre Arts!