Something wonderful happened last night. Something very progressive and very Portland: I had the opportunity to introduce some out of town guests to the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. Not only was it an incredible night filled with outstanding music, it was also a great experience for my friends who come from a conservative background and do not have experience or knowledge of the gay community. These friends of mine are good and kind people; just not very knowledgeable of the world outside their own sheltered community.
I’m pleased to say they came away from the experience happy and satisfied… and maybe a little broader of mind.
The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus performs at numerous venues around town: The Kaul Auditorium, The Newmark Theatre, The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, The Old Church, and Revolution Hall. Last night’s event – The Most Wonderful Season – was held at the beautiful Newmark Theatre and did not disappoint. The Most Wonderful Season celebrates the season’s festivities with music of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and the New Year. The exquisite voices and instrumentals kicked off the holiday season for all of us, and when an encore was called for, our friends were among those on their feet, asking for more. At that point, it didn’t matter what the sexual proclivities of the singers were, they were just enraptured with the music.
The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is currently comprised of approximately 150 singers and “Aspires to expand, redefine, and perfect the choral art through eclectic performances that honor and uplift the gay community and affirm the worth of all people.” Founded in 1980, The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is a section 501(c)(3) (non-profit) organization committed to community outreach; PGMC has benefited our local communities in a variety of ways. Just to name a few: overcoming homophobia, acceptance on a personal level of sexuality and gaining courage to come out, and addressing issues relating to HIV prevention.
Just one more thing I love about Portland, Oregon – we are a community accepting of all kinds of people. Diversity, of all walks of life, races, religions, and sexual orientations is one of the values of this great city that I hold so dearly. Thank you, Portland, and thank you Portland Gay Men’s Chorus for welcoming my friends, who I believe will become more welcoming and tolerant in their own lives. And that’s a beautiful thing that we should all be thankful for this Holiday Season.