Voices of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus Podcast

How do we recognize 40 years of “singing for our lives”? Singing is about telling our story, and after 40 years, we have a lot of stories to tell. The chorus was born in the cradle of the AIDS epidemic, and is bookended by another sort of epidemic. There is a lot of sorrow and anger to tell, but also a lot of love, hope and perseverance. We hope that you will join us in recognizing why TCGMC still matters.

This project would not have come to be without the tireless work of our head interviewer/editor Steffie Fiore, and producer Kelsey Bruso. A huge thank you to them, and an invitation to share in our story. Enjoy!

Episode #1

Join our hosts talking with Scott and Matt about the need for a gay men’s chorus, and forty years of sharing our lives and stories through song. Spanning decades and generations, uniting in song, these singers talk about the moving connections the bond of shared voice builds.

Episode #2

We all take different paths: how does community impact the journey? Join our hosts, talking with Brent and Shawn, about journeys of recovery and discovery, and finding a joy to be who you are and Carry On

Episode #3

Join our hosts who chat with two educators, Jeremy Engen and Mike Whistler, about finding your joy, finding your tribe, and owning the words that hurt you.  The haunting Stars from our last public concert will also be on tap – even more moving now during our days of physical isolation.

Episode #4

Part 2 of our conversation with educators and TCGMC singers Jeremy Engen and Michael Whistler. Hear some topics and issues they want to sing about, enjoy a recent recording of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and learn about Jeremy’s commute to the Twin Cities from his home in St. Cloud, and Michael’s perspective as a recent transplant to the Twin Cities!

Episode #5

Join our hosts as they cover the chorus history with a singer who has been there for 33 years, David Anderson, and fabulous relative newcomer Brandon Sieck. Singing songs of remembrance and resistance from TCGMC’s concerts such as “Sticks and Stones” from I Am Harvey Milk by Andrew Lippa.

Episode #6

Join our hosts as they wrap up their conversation with David Anderson and Brandon Sieck! David talks about his first rehearsals in 1988, before “Gay” was in the name, and Brandon shares his first experience as an audience member and how that inspired him to audition. Hear the song “Anthem,” and how the text “we are singing for our lives” has powerful meaning both now and when TCGMC was first founded.

Episode #7

Join our hosts, Steffie Fiore and newest co-host Glenn Bates, for a conversation with Brandon and Daniel, and hear stories from their experiences in faith-based communities as spiritual leaders and the roles those experiences have played in their lives as out gay men today. Our interviewees, and new co-host, also share specific past performances that have special meaning to them. You’ll hear movement II from “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Joel Thompson performed by TCGMC in March 2018.

Episode #8

Join our hosts as they have a conversation with Jason and John, and hear stories about how they arrived to the chorus, coming out to family and how TCGMC is a source of support for them. You’ll also hear snippets from two of TCGMC’s commission projects, “Two Boys Kissing” and “Through a Glass, Darkly.” 

Episode #9

Join our hosts who speak with bass section member, Adam Moore, who serves as TCGMC’s in-house Barbara Streisand impressionist, and TCGMC Artistic Director, Dr. Gerald Gurss. The two share their origin stories with the Chorus, and talk about topics and issues in our society that are important for them to sing about. Also hear a performance by TCGMC Chamber Singers of “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen from the last concert presented in-person at Ted Mann Concert Hall in December 2019. 

Episode #10

Join our 40th Anniversary Chair, Kelsey Bruso, for a conversation with singer Glenn Olson. Glenn was a featured and celebrated soloist for the TCGMC commissioned work, “Metamorphosis,” which was performed at the 2004 GALA Festival in Montreal, Canada. These two longtime members discuss the impact of this commission on a personal and community level and share some excerpts, including Glenn’s solo in movement 8, “Grace.”

Episode #11

Join this episode’s hosts, Glenn Bates and Steffie Fiore, who get to know community board member, Shannon O’Brien and singer Kent Pitman. Shannon and Kent share some fun facts about themselves, how they came to the Chorus, and the value they see in the way TCGMC integrates itself into the greater community. Not forgetting the internal community that exists for its members! Also hear a recording of “Chris and Gabe” composed by Dr. Gerald Gurss with text from a StoryCorps segment featuring Chris López and her son who is transgender, Gabe. Recorded remotely, and performed virtually by OutLoud!, TCGMC Chamber Singers & One Voice Chorus of Charlotte (NC), this piece was featured in the TCGMC Spring Concert, Carry On (available on the TCGMC YouTube Channel).

Episode #12

Who do we sing for and why? Our hosts pose this important question to Kenny and Patrick, two members of the Tenor 2 section, who connect their personal “why” to their formative years and where they come from. Patrick talks about TCGMC as a social statement and Kenny shares his deeply personal connection to the community that is built through TCGMC. Hear Movement IV from “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” composed by Joel Thompson and performed by TCGMC in March 2018 in Minneapolis.

Episode #13

Join this episode’s host, Steffie, for a heartfelt conversation with Matt Hudson, aka Anastacia C. Principle and Tyler Lanam, aka Michelle Cassandra Rawr, who discuss their time in the chorus and how it has intersected with their drag artistry. Hear TCGMC perform “And I Believe” composed by Dr. Gerald Gurss performed at the 2018 Holiday concert, and the impression that specific song had for Matt. Learn how adventures in drag, and singing in a gay chorus, have impacted Tyler’s life and relationships, coming from a conservative background in South Dakota.

Episode #14

Join our host, Steffie, for a conversation with longtime TCGMC singer and former New Yorker, Russell Toscano, and the man with a made-for-radio voice who hosted 2019’s “Stiletto Squares: The Divas Edition,” Glen Arvin. In this episode you’ll hear Russell’s solo in “Miss Marmelstein” from TCGMC’s 1995 performance at Ted Mann Concert Hall. 

Episode #15

Join our host, Steffie, for a conversation with two of TCGMC’s singer-leaders. Erin Bernier has twice joined the Chorus during different phases of his life journey and is just wrapping up a term as a member of the Board of Directors. Carlos Saldaña has been the Tenor 1 section admin and is now stepping into the role of Membership President for season 41! Hear the unique roles TCGMC has played in their respective lives, and some of the projects that have had an impact on them over the years. This episode features a snippet from “Two Boys Kissing” by Joshua Shank, commissioned by TCGMC and premiered in 2016 .

Episode #16

This episode, hosted by Steffi and Glenn, features two leaders in the organization who have both done so much to support TCGMC’s transformative work, John Azbill-Salisbury and David Fey. Singers join TCGMC for a wide variety of reasons. Hear the specific moment our guests realized that reason from a personal standpoint. And hear “I Want More Life” by Michael Shaieb, lyrics taken from Angels in America: Part II: Perestroika, Scene 5 by Tony Kushner. Recorded in live performance March 2010 under the baton of Dr. Stan Hill.

Episode #17

Join our hosts for a conversation with Patrick and Patrick, a married couple lovingly known in the chorus as “The Patricks.” First hearing a TCGMC performance following the passing of Minnesota’s marriage legislation in 2013, “The Patricks” share their experience as relatively new members of the organization, and why a chorus like TCGMC is still relevant for them. 

“The things that we choose to sing about and spread a message about as a gay men’s chorus are important, and we’re not just doing it for the sake of dragging people through history, but it’s because we’re still struggling with this stuff.” –Patrick Puckett 

Hear TCGMC’s performance of a modern reframing of “The House of the Rising Sun,” arranged by Joshua Shank, paying tribute to the victims of a 1973 fire in New Orleans at a gay bar called the Upstairs Lounge in which 32 people died. 

So grab your earbuds, listen in, and Carry On with us as we start our next decade.

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