Local Voices

By Danae Barnes, October 2015 Issue.

Photo courtesy of Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus.

The Grand Canyon Performing Arts

The Grand Canyon Performing Arts is an umbrella arts organization for four choral groups: Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus, Canyon Echoes, Harmonic Vibrations and the Omaggio youth chorus.

In its 25th year, the overall mission remains to “unite, inspire, educate and entertain.”

With a majority of choral members from the LGBT community, the choruses emphasize community involvement. For example, the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus plans to volunteer “25 acts of kindness” this year as part of its 25th anniversary celebration and observation.

“Music and the performing arts opens up a dialogue where walls can come down,” said Marc Gaston, The Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus artistic director. “The message is easier to receive – it is amazing to see the healing that has taken place within families. Or, if it doesn’t, we provide a safe environment where people can be authentic, participate in something healthy and fun.”

The Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus is the largest of the groups, the 100-member ensemble incorporates a full orchestra and musical accompaniment to accommodate its wide-ranging musical offerings.

This year’s winter season theme is “Silver Bells, 25 years of Holiday Celebration,” and the show will highlight the best concerts from over the years.

“We are a serious musical group, but we want our audience to have fun,” Gaston said.

In addition to the regular season, the main ensemble auditions for two smaller vocal groups. Canyon Echoes, a 16- to 20-member ensemble serves as “choral ambassadors,” performing at smaller venues or private shows. The 6-member Harmonic Vibrations “primarily focuses on comedy.”

Grand Canyon Performing Arts serves as artistic home for the Omaggio youth chorus, one of 9 queer youth choral groups in the nation. The multidisciplinary musical performances allow Omaggio singers to “express their life experience and identify who they are ... giving them a safe environment to use performing arts for self-esteem.”

For additional information, including audition opportunities, visit phoenixmenschorus.org/grand-canyon-performing-arts.

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