The "pride" keeps on growing.
This weekend GALA Choruses celebrates 25 years of assisting and enabling the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) choral movement in America in a festival in Miami July 12-19. It's the eighth such festival for the service organization based in Pittsburgh.
On the organizational level, the GLBT choral movement began with the Anna Crusis Women's Choir (founded 1975) and the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (1978). "SFGMC's national tour in the spring of 1981 served as the catalyst for the formation of many of the gay and lesbian choruses that exist today," says GALA Chorus' historical account of the movement. GALA itself incorporated in 1983.
The week-long festival will bring in 120 choruses and ensembles and more than 5,000 delegates from around the U.S. including Pittsburgh's Renaissance City Choirs. Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon - the member of the Freedom Singers and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock - and Toshi Reagon -the singer featured on the Righteous Babe Records label are emceeing and performing. And in addition to workshops the choruses attending will perform during the afternoons and evenings. Call (412)-322-4260 for more information or visit Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, formerly known as the Carnival Center, where the convention is taking place.
Service organizations are all important to their constituents, but I am not sure any have been as crucial to the health of a field than GALA Choruses. In most cases, people in cities and towns looking to start a GLBT choir face far more difficulty than than funding issues. GALA has been able to help them navigate through that for a quarter of a century now, which is pretty remarkable. Let's hope there are many more years in the future.