5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) is ready to be part of your holiday celebration! BGMC show this year is “Ho, Ho, Ho.” The chorus has also has the distinction of being the first gay chorus to perform in the Middle East. In a recent phone conversation with music director, Reuben Reynolds said he was happy to share with me what the BGMC has been up to this year.
SD: How long have you been with BGMC, and what are your favorite aspects of being a part of it?
RR: I have been with the BGMC for 18 years. I love the relationships that are formed with the chorus members and the audience members. For the chorus members, I love to see the joy that they get from standing up and performing on stage and knowing they are part of something bigger than themselves. As for the audience, I love the love and commitment that they give to us as a chorus.
SD: As stated on the BGMC website, the purpose of the chorus is “to inspire.” What do you hope to inspire in the audience with this holiday concert?
RR: I think we help inspire all by showing them that they should be able to do what you want to do. We all need to find your own way and your own path for our lives. As a chorus, I think we inspire by creating our stories and not hiding from them. Our songs selections always have a message that can be used as a powerful tool.
SD: As the music director for the chorus, how do you balance between giving the audience what they expect to hear but still continue to challenge the chorus artistically and musically?
RR: Great questions! The audience wants to hear the same songs over and over again, especially, the holiday shows. But never fear, ideas always seem to come my way. With each show, I make sure that we are communicating with the audience and telling them a story. I want them to see that we are being true to ourselves by telling them our story. Creating each show over the last 18 years really makes my soul soar when I see the faces of the chorus members and the audience light up.
SD: Can you describe what the experience was like being the first gay chorus performing across the Middle East?
RR: It was exhilarating and a bit scary at times, to be honest. I traveled to Tel Aviv last summer (2014) to make sure this was the right thing for us to do. What I didn’t think about after that first trip was how fast the Middle East is changing politically, but luckily every concert we performed we had such a huge reception. After the summer tour, I returned to Istanbul with my nephew and a tour guide that I was with said to me “I think I know you.” He had friends that had attended one of the concerts and remembered my face. He thanked me for coming and performing. I was happy that we did and hopefully our concerts will continue to generate change in the Middle East.
SD: What’s next for BGMC in the year to come?
RR: Next year is looking exciting! We are working with a young writer who is scripting our March show based on our Middle East experiences. For our Pride show in June, we are doing an abbreviation of pop music through the years.
For more information on the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus and to purchase tickets to their holiday concert “Ho, Ho, Ho” visit www.bgmc.org.