Jay Allen Sanford 2 p.m., Dec. 5
The Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego
RIYL: San Diego Men's Chorus
Influences: San Diego Men's Chorus, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus
The Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego currently has around 75 members, operating under the unbrella of Finest City Performing Arts, Inc.
The group was founded in October 1992 by 11 members of the San Diego Men's Chorus who wanted to sing in a self-identified "gay" chorus. The Chorus was incorporated in January 1993, and began rehearsing in the Great Hall of the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul on Fifth Avenue, under the baton of Gary Holt. Within the first year, the membership tripled to over 30 singers, and San Diego's newly elected mayor, Susan Golding, invited the new gay chorus to be the opening entertainment at her gala celebration inauguration.
The Chorus applied for and was granted city funding after only one year of existence, with the review panel specifically acknowledging the chorus for having "...measurable goals and objectives and a well-known Director with a reputation for quality work." In December 1993, the Chorus presented its first public concert, "Don We Now..." at the Park Boulevard United Methodist Church before a standing-room-only audience.
In 1995, partially as a means of addressing through music the loss of three members to AIDS in a six-month period, the Chorus undertook its most ambitious project since its inception: a concert featuring the seven-movement work "Hidden Legacies" by Roger Bourland and John Hall. That performance took place at the University Christian Church, a new venue for the Chorus, which in itself represented a breakthrough for the gay community.
In late 2009, the 17 year-old Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego merged with the 25 year-old San Diego Men’s Chorus, to form the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus.