On Holiday!

By Megan Wadding, December 2015 Issue.

As part of its 21st season, Tucson’s Reveille Men’s Chorus will hold its annual holiday production on Dec. 4-6 at the Leo Rich Theater in Tucson, a new venue for the chorus.

This year’s theme is going “On Holiday,” and the event promises a tour of seasonal gatherings, both at home and abroad.

“There is a different theme each year,” explained Shawn Cullen, Reveille Men’s Chorus artistic director and conductor. “This one is a play on going ‘on holiday,’ or what we Americans call ‘vacation’ for the winter season.”

According to Cullen, the show will feature old holiday favorites and some “unexpected songs” that tie in with this year’s theme.

“[We will do] songs that will connect with both our audiences and our singers, that allow us to deliver a message of love and humor for the holiday season,” Cullen said. “You’ll leave in the holiday spirit, hopefully with your face a bit tired from smiling.”

According to Cullen, the chorus will perform everything from Madonna to traditional holiday carols.

“It’s our job to make you reflect on your own personal journey this holiday season with feeling nostalgic, a few laughs and a lot of great singing,” he added.

According to Cullen, the men will be in a multitude of costumes and attire throughout the show, which will include everything from traditional shirts and ties to grass skirts.

The chorus began rehearsing for the show in August, which means the chorus has been in the holiday spirit since summer.

“Everyone loves holiday music,” Cullen said. “We try our best to keep everything fun and exciting, which helps us sing about winter, elves and mistletoe in August.”

Tucson resident Jai Smith has been involved with Reveille for eight years.

“It’s always weird singing holiday songs during the summer, but after working for years in a shopping center, I grew accustomed to holiday songs during non-holiday months,” Smith said. “I guess my early adult years really were just prepping me for my inevitable path towards a gay men’s chorus.”

The chorus, which started back in 1995 as a gay men’s community chorus, holds concerts year-round. The group has grown to include more than 70 men of many occupations, ages and backgrounds from all over the Tucson area.

“We have students, doctors, lawyers, teachers, retirees and even members of the [United States Air Force],” Cullen said. “The ages of our singers range from early 20s to over 70. You won’t find a fabulous group of 70 gay men singing and dancing for you this holiday season anywhere else in Tucson.”

According to Cullen, the chorus is expecting a full house this year – possibly their biggest show ever – with a little something for everyone.

Longtime chorus singer Ajia Simone plans to bring his entire family to the show this year.

“My mom, my dad, my five siblings and nieces and nephews all plan on coming to the show,” Simone said. “The show does draw a large crowd. The last few Christmas shows that we’ve had have sold out so we have actually had to move our venue to a larger venue.”

To conclude its 21st season, Reveille Men’s Chorus will present a performance entitled “Big Gay Roadtrip” May 7-8, 2016.

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