The holidays might seem far away, but the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus is already gearing up for its eighth season–and they’re looking for new members! “We’re not the new kids on the block anymore,” says Robert Reader, executive director of the HGMC. With a continued effort towards community outreach and gender diversity, the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus hopes to unite new members under its brand new hashtag, #togetherinsong.
We spoke with Robert Reader about teamwork, gender diversity, and the energy and excitement of the upcoming eighth season. Auditions will be held on Monday, August 26 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Reach out to Membership Services Chair Dan Lupacchino at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your slot!
CT VOICE: What do you love most about being a member of the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus? What do you do to bring an especially powerful group energy to your performances? How do you get in sync?
ROBERT READER: What I love most about the chorus is that we have brought together an amazing group of individuals, that has such a passion for performance and community outreach. Sharing their wonderful talent onstage is just amazing—there’s always such an energy and an excitement at our concerts. What we’ve created here in the chorus is a family, we’re a family—we’re very close and we enjoy being together, and that energy always comes across naturally.
CT VOICE: In the age of social media & digital content, how does HGMC takes its classic approach & translate it to an ever-changing audience?
RR: You know, it takes lots of energy, but the biggest thing is that it takes commitment. We rehearse once a week for two and a half hours, and every concert season we hold marathon rehearsals, with eight-hour Sunday rehearsals. Every member of our chorus and everyone accepted into the chorus is here because of the same reason. We love singing, it’s our passion, and we understand that it’s a lot of work to be successful onstage.
CT VOICE: We’re also aware that the HGMC is pushing towards greater gender inclusivity. Why do you feel this is so important?
RR: We want everyone to know that the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus is open to all gender identities. The only requirement is that you must be able to sing in the tenor/baritone range, which does not necessarily mean a “male” voice range.
This shift towards inclusivity is occurring across the nation, with all GALA choruses participating. We’re taking what’s on the national platform, which is to push towards inclusivity and diversity, and incorporate it into our own presence on the local Hartford level. It’s not something new to us, as we have had a transgender member in the past, and he became family to us. We just want to make sure that we’re continuing this progress and putting more emphasis on this concert cycle, so that everyone is aware.
CT VOICE: The Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus has had a busy & productive summer. What were the highlights of your summer season? What is coming up on your calendar?
RR: Our summer was so busy that our leadership said, “We should take it a little bit easier,” but that has certainly not been the case! We’ve sang the National Anthem at different pride events: for the Hartford Yard Goats, for the Connecticut Sun women’s basketball team at Mohegan Sun. We even did a thirty-minute performance set at Pillow Pride in Becket, Massachusetts, so we’re expanding outside of the Hartford area.
Next Saturday we finish up our summer at New London Pride, which we’ve been doing for the past five years. And then September 9th will be the first rehearsal for our holiday concert! Our holiday concert, “Making Spirits Bright,” will be the first weekend of December at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
CT VOICE: Tell us, what exactly are you looking for in a new member? What do you think makes an audition stand out from all the rest?
RR: Come in prepared with your requested piece. Pick a piece that really showcases your voice, and shows who you are as a person. If you’re feeling the music, and if it’s in your best range, then you’ll shine.