It is fitting that the Orlando Gay Chorus (OGC) was founded on Valentine’s Day in 1990. This all-volunteer chorus of 39 members began under the leadership of founding President David Schuler and founding Artistic Director Dr. Charles Callahan. Despite an initial case of the jitters and fear of reprisal, they gathered together with the mission and vision to use music to change images and attitudes, build a stronger community and make the world a better place.
Throughout the past twenty-four years, over 540 people have graced the stage in performance and support with the Orlando Gay Chorus. Although AIDS, other illnesses and careers took some away prematurely, we like to think that all of our members and alumni continue to change images and attitudes and serve as goodwill ambassadors on behalf of the LGBT community.
The Orlando Gay Chorus consists of more than 150+ volunteer singing and support members who participate in the annual subscription concert series, which this season consists of two major events: the Reasons For The Season concerts, performed last December, and the We’re Ready For Our Close-Up concerts last May.
The Chorus also produces three independent cabaret shows each year. UnCut Cabaret, in October, is a chance for Chorus members to highlight their talents with some more comical and risqué musical selections. Love Is..., coming up in February, 2014 focuses more on romance and allows individuals in OGC to showcase their own compositions, solos and ensemble talents.A Lotta Night Music, coming up in June 2014 allows individuals in OGC to showcase their own compositions, solos and ensemble talents.
Each Spring as the Orlando Gay Chorus prepares for our second show of the season, we often perform at various outreach opportunities in our community. This year, we have enjoyed singing for the Stetson University Gay, Straight Alliances Conference in Deland, FL. Subsets of the Chorus have opened the softball season for the Central Florida Gay & Lesbian Softball League and performed our National Anthem at the The Metropolitan Business Association's Pride In Business Gala Awards dinner, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2013 Walk and visited nursing and retirement homes to share our love of music and to change attitudes and images in our community.
We recently combined our joy of singing with a love of golf and the outdoors with our 2nd Annual OGC Golf Tournament. Wellness and giving back are also important to the chorus, with groups from the Chorus participating both in the NAMIWalk and March of Dimes walks.
Each year, as we grow, we continue to find ways to share our message with the world. Performing, volunteering and supporting other community efforts are just a few ways that we “change hearts through our music.”