The Lead

Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus set for first in-person show in two years

By: - November 29, 2021 12:20 pm

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus’ 2017 holiday concert. The PGMC will perform their 2021 Holiday Concert in-person on Dec. 2 to 4 (Image via the The Philadelphia Gay News).

By Jason Villemez

PHILADELPHIA —  The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus will perform in-person this December, just in time to mark the group’s 40th season. The “Shine” holiday concert, running Dec. 2 to 4 at the Church of the Holy Communion (2110 Chestnut Street), will feature songs including Eight Candles for Chanukah, Deck the Halls, Text Me Merry Christmas, Merry Everything, and Silver Bears. And as is tradition, audiences can expect costumes and dance numbers in addition to the holiday tunes.

“It is so good to be back in person making music in person,” said PGMC artistic director and conductor Joe Buches. “Even though we enjoyed sharing our music with our audiences over the past year virtually, coming back together to create our holiday program has been wonderful. The singers and I are very excited to perform a live, in-person concert – our first in 2 years!”

In preparation for the return to in-person concerts, all singing and dancing members as well as PGMC staff were required to be fully vaccinated, and rehearsals had been shortened with all singers masked and socially distanced. The mask mandate for singers was recently lifted to allow the group to fully prepare for their performance. At the concert, singers will wear masks as they enter and exit the stage, and attendees will be masked for the entire performance. Proof of vaccination is also required for all audience members.

Although the group performed 3 virtual concerts last season, Buches said the shift to a digital space was not easy, and he celebrated the return to in-person song starting with the holiday concert.

“It was very difficult for singers and music staff. Virtual is not why we all became part of a chorus. The lack of in person rehearsals and creating the art of music together really was a really huge missing part. That is really why when we said we were coming back in person in September of 2021, members were so excited to come back, even though masked and distanced. And now, as we continue with our fully in person season celebrating our 40th Anniversary, and move back to our 3 hour rehearsals and adding a mid-point break for social activities, we continue to look forward to rebuilding our performance opportunities in Philadelphia and beyond.”

The PGMC’s 40th season runs from 2021-2022, including “Shine,” “Spin: A Flashback to the 1980s” in March 2022, and 40th anniversary concert “Rise” in May 2022.

Jason Villemez is the editor of the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared. 

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