SOUTH AFRICA—The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) reaffirmed its commitment today to participate in George, South Africa’s first Pride parade on Tuesday, June 19 despite statements to the media from the mayor of George condemning BGMC as“unchristian.”
“We have been looking forward to participating in this history-making Pride parade for months and are doing so at the invitation of leaders in the Georgian community. We also can’t wait to share our music with all of the citizens of George that same day. It will be a special performance as it will be George’s first-ever LGBTQ cultural event,” said Reuben Reynolds III, BGMC’s music director. “We have never been afraid to engage in difficult conversations, and music is a universal language. Our concerts are about sharing our stories and our humanity through song, enabling others to find common ground in our experiences.”
During an interview with Heartbeat FM, a Christian broadcast station, George Mayor Melvin Naik said that he did not approve of the Pride parade or BGMC’s scheduled concert. His remarks prompted a statement by the leader of the DA Western Cape political party, to which Naik belongs, saying that is “condemns in the strongest terms” Naik’s comments about the Chorus.
“We were so honored to sing for the the night before leaving for South Africa, and we hope that the mayor of George, South Africa joins other government officials and other Georgian civic and business leaders in participating in George’s first ever Pride parade,” said Craig Coogan, executive director of BGMC. “Along with our chorus members, instruments, and other gear, we also packed the Boston Pride and InterPride banners, which we’ll be carrying with pride in next Tuesday.”
While in South Africa, BGMC will be partnering with local nonprofit organizations to help raise money and awareness about issues such as HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ youth, and LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.
On June 15 at 7 p.m. the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at Soweto Theatre in Soweto. The Mzansi Gay Choir will join the Chorus on stage for a portion of the show. On June 16 at 7 p.m. the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at Great Hall of Wits University in Johannesburg Proceeds from both performances will benefit GALA – Memory in Action’s “YOUth” initiative, which serves LGBTQ youth.
On June 19 at 6 p.m. the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at Conville Community Hall in George. This will be a free concert for the community and it will be the first-ever LGBTQ cultural event in the region.
On June 21 at 8 p.m. the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at Langa Community Hall in Cape Town. Proceeds from the performance will benefit PASSOP’s LGBT refugee outreach program.
On June 22 at 8 p.m. the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Cape Town. Proceeds from the performance will benefit the HIV/AIDS program of Triangle Project Health & Human Services.
About the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus
Boston Gay Men’s Chorus creates musical experiences to inspire change, build community and celebrate difference. The BGMC is one of New England’s largest and most successful community-based choruses. Founded in 1982, the 175-voice ensemble is celebrated for its outstanding musicianship, creative programming, and groundbreaking community outreach. Under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Reuben M. Reynolds III, the BGMC sings a wide spectrum of classical and popular music and creates social change by providing a positive, affirming image of the gay and lesbian community. The Chorus is heard live by more than 10,000 people each season and thousands more through recording, television and internet broadcasts. CBS-WBZ named The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus one of the top five choruses in the city of Boston. As cultural ambassadors, The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus performed in Poland in 2005, the Middle East in 2018, and South Africa in 2018.
[From a News Release]