Preaching to the choir

Preaching to the choir

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The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus is rebranding ahead of its 37th season, with changes to its annual fundraiser, a new logo and a refocused mission to use music as a form of social-justice activism.

PGMC, one of the oldest choruses in the United States, has launched its new logo with a “p” in the center of a square that emits sound vibrations. The new website, meanwhile, displays a much-needed revamp from the “outdated” look, said PGMC president Adam Funck.

“The old logo didn’t have any kind of modern feel to it; it was purely music-based and didn’t really hint towards any of the other aspects of the organization,” he said. “The ‘p’ of the new logo represents Philadelphia, but it is also a speaker with sound coming out because we are a vocal organization. You can also look at it as a protest sign with someone yelling about something. It embodies that we’re activists through music.”

The group also made changes to its annual Fall Ball fundraiser, which is now in its seventh year. The gala, now called the Masquerade, will be the first PGMC event of the season. This year, “Cirque Masquerade” is a black-tie-optional masked ball.

“We’re partnering up with the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and bringing in circus artists as the performers along with our select ensemble, Brotherly Love,” Funck said. “We restructured the event and eliminated the VIP reception. Before, the VIP reception had the entertainment and the main event didn’t have anything other than background music. We wanted to make it where everyone could enjoy the full experience.”

The proceeds will go toward PGMC’s outreach program. The chorus travels to seven to nine schools in the area during the school year, performing concerts for students. Inspired by the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus, PGMC is developing a music curriculum for school visits.

Joe Buches, PGMC’s artistic director, said the group is “in the process of working on the curriculum we’ll send out to the schools ahead of time. There’s a wide range of everything from LGBT terminology to more anti-bullying. A lot of the time our chorus members really get emotional when they go to these schools because none of us had something like this growing up.”

Funck added that part of the outreach program is providing students with free tickets to PGMC’s concerts in an effort “to make sure the arts are accessible to youth.”

Along with school visits, PGMC plans to perform at local senior centers, Buches said.

“The chorus is growing, so that’s on our radar. It’s nice to bring the arts to people where it’s not as easily accessible to them financially, or if they’re unable to travel to our concerts. We’re bringing our concerts to them.”

The Cirque Masquerade will be hosted at the Lowes Philadelphia Hotel 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 20. For more information on the fundraiser and to purchase tickets, visit www.pgmc.org/event/7th-annual-cirque-masquerade/.


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