The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus explores how hard it is to stay together, break up or find new love during its “Valentine’s Cabaret” concert next weekend.
On the program are many popular tunes about love, including “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka, “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” by Whitney Houston, “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.
While artistic director Aaron Howe selected the pieces that the ensemble of 50 men sing together, individual members chose the pieces they wanted to perform as solos or duets.
|If you go
WHAT: New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Valentine Cabaret”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 3 p.m. Feb. 10
WHERE: South Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway SE
HOW MUCH: $20 general admission, $15 students, seniors and military at www.nmgmc.org or at the door. For more information call 569-0097
“What we do for cabaret performances is ask whatever men want to sing a solo or duet to prepare a song for audition,” Howe explained. “For the first year, we had very few auditions. This year we had 27 different acts audition for spots in the cabaret. I had to cut 11 acts. I’m glad more of the men are auditioning because it means we can offer higher quality performances.”
The chorus has invited two male tango dancers to present several numbers during the show. “I’ve never seen two men tango together,” Howe said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The “Valentine’s Cabaret” is a festive event, with all the singers dressed in reversible red vests. Stephen Montoya, a native New Mexican who earned his master’s degree in piano performance from the University of New Mexico, accompanies them on the piano.
The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus’ mission is to create a positive image of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through public performances. The chorus was founded as a 16-member group in 1981 with the name The Brash Ensemble.
Through the years the ensemble has had a number of conductors including Bill Boyer, Alan Stringer, Bob Morris, John Roberts, David Arellanes and Sean Dougherty.
Howe, who received his bachelor’s of music education degree with an emphasis in choral studies from Eastern New Mexico University in 1996, took the helm of the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus in 2010.
He was the music director at Heights First Church of the Nazerene in Albuquerque for seven years and a choir teacher at St. Pius X High School for five years. Since 2005, Howe also has been involved with productions at Musical Theatre Southwest and Albuquerque Little Theater.
“The South Broadway Cultural Center should be a good venue for this performance,” Howe said. “Our audiences have been increasing in size, so we need a place that can accommodate everyone who wants to come to our concerts.”