(Photo from OGC’s Facebook)
ORLANDO | Orlando Gay Chorus is carrying on its tradition of bringing yuletide magic to the season with its annual holiday concert.
This year’s OGC holiday spectacular is titled “Peace on Earth: Make the Yuletide GAY!” and will have two performances. The first on Dec. 10, starting at 4 p.m., at Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts at the Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando. The second show will be at The Ritz Theater in Sanford on Dec. 16, starting at 7:30 p.m.
“When we were planning this event earlier this year and thinking about what we wanted it to say, we were saying what we need now is a little more peace,” says Sheri Kettula, OGC’s Board Chair. “We were talking about Ukraine and everything else that was going on in the world at the time that made us think we need more peace, and now as we see in the world we need peace more now than ever.”
OGC will be taking a worldview approach to this year’s holiday concert, performing songs in multiple languages including in English, Swahili, Korean, Zulu, Spanish, Hawaiian, Mandarin Chinese and German.
“We often talk about the diversity in our community but we predominantly sing English songs,” says Sean Mundyschein, OGC’s PR & Marketing Chair. “There are LGBTQ people who speak different languages so I think we have an opportunity to broaden the scope of what diversity means when it comes to our concerts.”
Including songs in multiple languages not only makes the show more inclusive but it also showcases the many talents that OGC has.
“Often we are really good at campy but it is important to show, and I think the chorus wants to show, that we are really a diverse chorus and we do many things really, really well. Languages is one of them,” Kettula says. “We have been putting the time in, we have been holding language lessons at rehearsals, learning the pronunciations, and I think it is wonderful that we can show we are willing and able to do more challenging songs and that we are more than just a good, campy chorus. These songs are a way to express that.”
Along with songs in multiple languages, OGC will also highlight multiple winter celebrations and holidays in this year’s concert.
“We have a beautiful Hanukkah number this year as well as a song celebrating Kwanzaa, which is a first for us,” Kettula says. “This concert will really show that we have a worldview when it comes to music. We want to include everyone in the community and these songs will show that we have a broader reach.”
Kettula adds that the inclusion of a Kwanzaa song in this year’s concert came about from a recommendation from an audience member.
“That is part of our mission, to bring the people what they want to hear and what they are asking for,” she says. “We get great ideas from our audiences and we have gotten some gems over the years that came about because of members of our audience.”
If you are a fan of OGC’s campy classics, then have no fear. You are also going to see them perform some of their fun renditions in a way that only OGC can do them including “A Hand for Mrs. Claus,” “The Christmas Can-Can” and “Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man).”
As OGC prepares for its holiday spectacular, it is also in the midst of fundraising for the next GALA Choruses Festival in summer 2024. GALA Choruses is an organization that cultivates artistic development in more than 190 LGBTQ+ choruses in North America. Every fours years, the LGBTQ+ choruses gather for five days of singing, connecting and creating with concerts, workshops, social events and more. It’s the largest LGBTQ+ choral event in the world.
“Unfortunately in 2020 it was postponed and then cancelled due to the COVID pandemic,” Mundyschein says. “So we haven’t been back since 2016 when we went right after the Pulse tragedy happened. We are so excited to go back and be able to connect with LGBTQ choruses from all over and preform.”
The GALA festival will take place July 10-14 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and to get a chorus of about 100 members up there, it will take quiet a bit of funds.
“We are looking to raise $50,000 which would enable us to give each member an assist,” Kettula says. “Some people would need more help than others, but $50,000 is our goal that we think would be enough to help get everyone there. More would be better, but at $50,000 we could help them a lot.”
OGC has several fundraisers planned in the month leading up to the festival, including one on Nov. 10 at The Ritz Theater in Sanford.
Join OGC for a night of singing ABBA hits with “Mamma Mia!” A Movie Sing Along.
“Members of Orlando Gay Chorus will be there so you will have some great voices around you to singalong with,” Mundyschein says. “It should be a lot of fun.”
OGC will have more movie singalongs, cabarets and appearance that will all act as fundraisers with all of the proceeds going toward OGC’s GALA Choruses Festival fund.
For more information on upcoming OGC fundraisers, and to get tickets for its “Peace on Earth: Make the Yuletide GAY!” concert, go to OrlandoGayChorus.org.