Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus to celebrate the holidays

Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus (DGMC) presents “Naughty & Nice,” a pair of holiday concerts at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton on Saturday, Dec. 4.
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Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus (DGMC) presents “Naughty & Nice,” a pair of holiday concerts at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Singers deliver first performance in almost two years.

After a coronavirus-imposed silent season, the members of Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus (DGMC) are primed to raise their voices in song during “Naughty & Nice,” its first performances since early 2020. The group, founded in 2003, presents a pair of holiday concerts at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton on Saturday, Dec. 4.

“The first concert we had to cancel was in June of 2020,” said founder Fred Poland. “We got in half a season and then we basically didn’t do anything. We chose to stay dormant and stay in touch with our people. We tried to be socially active with each other, but it wasn’t practical for us to try to do any singing together and definitely not in person. The challenges of doing Zoom concerts and all of that is a little bit above our paygrade. We just took the time off and waited. We started rehearsing again this year in September.”

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Naughty & Nice

Music director Kathy Clark has once again created a program featuring earnest renditions of holiday favorites, the nice part in the title, as well as some naughtier numbers.

“We do a lot of different music,” Poland said. “The concert is called ‘Naughty & Nice,’ and our artistic director has written a song for that. We’re doing ‘Carol of the Bells,’ things like ‘Santa Baby,’ and we have a Celtic arrangement of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ We have a small group doing a couple of numbers. We’ll be doing audience sing-alongs. We try to keep it under control but we’re gay men, so we like to have fun. We like to do movement, as much as we can, and there’s a little showmanship. That’s what makes it fun. It’s always fun because our scenic designer just kind of explodes Christmas in the front of the church. It doesn’t look like Westminster when we’re in there.”

Programming changes

DGMC is doubling up the fun for the first time this holiday season with presentations of its annual concert at 2 and 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 online and at the door.

“In the past we were filling Westminster and packing them in, literally,” Poland said. “Doing two concerts seems to be well received at this point. Hopefully, that will give us a chance to spread people out a little bit. It’s actually dividing itself up on ticket sales, which are about half and half so far, so this may even become a permanent move.”

That’s not the only change this year.

“There would normally be an intermission and a cookie reception afterwards, socially, but we’re just doing a one-hour concert with nothing else,” Poland said. “We’re trying to keep it safe. We’re following all the protocols. We’re singing masked, which is odd and difficult to do, but it’s what you have to do right now. We’re excited and we think people are excited about us returning.”

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Reduced crew

For these concerts, the chorus will feature 27 singers, which is down from pre-pandemic membership of more than 40.

“COVID definitely hurt us,” Poland said. “We’re down about a third. Some was through attrition, some don’t want to sing in a mask, and some have family concerns, so they don’t want to take anything home. It’s all valid. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as things progress. We think some people will come back and we usually have several new people join us starting every season. We’ll only have 27 singers but we’re going to do our thing and be happy doing it. It’s getting close now, it’s starting to build up momentum and we’re excited about singing for people again.”

Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus continues its abbreviated 2021-2022 season with “Flashback” at Dayton Masonic Center on June 4.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Naughty & Nice”

Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Wilkinson St., Dayton

When: 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Cost: $20 online and at the door

More info: www.daytongaymenschorus.org

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