After attending a San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus concert in the spring of 1980, Portland native Mark Richards asked friends Mark Jones and Gary Coleman if they thought Portland would support a similar Chorus. An ad in the local gay newspaper proved there was interest, and – with just 26 singers – the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus was born, one of the first gay men’s choruses in the nation.
Very soon, the gay community was facing a crisis: AIDS. PGMC, which quickly grew to more than a hundred members, found itself an emotional, spiritual, and social oasis for the community, and many of its performances were at funerals for members, friends, and family. AIDS took its toll on membership, as well; the Chorus shrank to less than 30 members during the heights of the crisis.
Today, PGMC is a thriving arts organization comprised of over 140 singers. The Chorus performs to packed houses in Portland and beyond, and considers outreach to be an important part of its mission. The Chorus will be the first gay performing group to tour China in the fall of 2018.