Press

Quick Facts

  • Executive Director: Richard Jung
  • Artistic Director: Bob Mensel
  • Principal Accompanist: Michael Barnes
  • President: Cal Harrison
  • Mission: The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus aspires to expand, redefine, and perfect the choral art through eclectic performances that honor and uplift the gay community and affirm the worth of all people.
  • Performance Venues: Kaul Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, Schnitzer Concert Theatre, The Old Church, Revolution Hall
  • Current number of singers: 160
  • Established in 1980, fourth oldest gay-identified chorus
  • Compact Discs Published: Sing & Swing the Season, On Broadway, BraveSouls and Dreamers, Holiday Serenade, Millennium Mosaic, Breaking the Silence
  • Founding member of GALA Choruses
  • Section 501(c)(3) (non-profit) organization

Press Releases & Graphics

2015-2016 Season: Artslandia

2011-2012 Season: Summer of Love: Press Kit

2011-2012 Season: Joy to the Modern World: Graphic

Brave Souls and Dreamers: Press Kit

2009-2010 Season: Graphic

Gay Fair on the Square (October 3, 2009): Press Release

Celebrate the Season (December 18-20, 2009): Graphic

ABBAQueen (March 20-21, 2010): Graphic

Praises for the World (June 6, 2010): Graphic

Music from the Heartland (June 19, 2010): Press Release Graphic

Multimedia

Photos

Bob Mensel, Artistic Director: Formal and Informal

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus: Formal

Photo albums

Videos

Brief video history

For more videos of PGMC, visit our page on YouTube.

History

(See our mission and history sections for more info).

In the spring of 1980, Portland’s Mark Richards had just returned from a concert of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. He was astounded by what he had heard. He got together with Mark Jones and Gary Coleman at “Wilde Oscars” where they talked of the possibilities for a gay men’s chorus in Portland. They placed an ad in the local gay newspaper and shortly there after, in the spring of 1980, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus was born.

First gay chorus to sing in a capitol

PGMC has remained at the forefront of gay-positive organizations in Oregon. In 1985, PGMC was the first gay chorus to sing in a state capitol when they performed at the swearing-in ceremonies of then Secretary of State, Barbara Roberts. PGMC has also performed for the inaugurations of Governors Roberts, Kitzhaber and Kulongoski.

Outreach

PGMC has been involved in political and social issues that have confronted Oregon and the Gay and Lesbian community. The Chorus has donated concert revenues to countless AIDS-support agencies, including the seed money for Cascade AIDS Project and the PAL Project. The chorus has traveled to Bend, Eugene, Medford, Forest Grove, The Dalles, Pendelton, and St. Helens, Oregon singing to raise money for GLBT organizations and promoting a gay positive image in rural areas.

Conductors

There have been over 1000 singers and volunteers during the Portland Gay Men’s tenure. PGMC’s current director since 1993, Bob Mensel, has been at the musical helm of PGMC for the longest of any of its seven permanent conductors. But prior to his arrival in 1993, the Chorus was directed by Jon Rollins, David York, Steve Fulmer, Curtis Holloway, and Kevin Walsh. Mark Jones was PGMC’s first conductor.

AIDS

The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus has lost over 110 men to HIV disease.

Firsts for women

Owing to a firm belief that one cannot fight discrimination while practicing it, PGMC has always been a diverse and welcoming organization. PGMC is made up of gay, straight, and trans-gendered singers and has always appreciated the strong contributions to its mission from women. Mari Moore was the administrative backbone of PGMC throughout the early and mid 1990s and in 1998 Phylis Myles became the first woman to serve as a president of a gay men’s chorus.

Commissions

Known for its musical excellence as well as its outreach, PGMC has commissioned over 40 new choral works, including: “Zillions” (Tom Simonds), a zany musical about the Senate’s attempt to balance the budget; “Young Caesar” (Lou Harrison), a full-length opera; “Millennium Mosaic” (David York), the first song-cycle based on the lives and perspectives of gay youth; and “Vintage Voices” (Kate Campbell), a multi-media work honoring gay and lesbian seniors; and “BraveSouls and Dreamers”, a dramatic cantanta that reflects upon the human and spiritual consequences of war..

Bios

Artistic

Bob Mensel, Artistic Director

Bob Mensel has served as the Artistic Director of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus since 1993. Prior to moving to Portland, he was Conductor of the Salt Lake Men’s Choir and co-founder of the Salt Lake Choral Scholars. His earliest training was in his hometown of Washington, D.C. where he studied piano with Caryl Traten Fisher and sang with numerous schools and honor choirs, including the University of Maryland Chorus. He first attended the college at Brigham Young University, but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah where he received a degree in Music History in 1989. In 1992, he graduated width a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon. Bob recently completed a PhD in Music History and has served on the panel for the Arts Industry Development Grants of the Oregon Arts Commission.

Michael Barnes, Principal Accompanist

Michael Barnes has been accompanying singers since his high school days in Seattle, Washington. He has toured nationally for Community Concerts, and tours internationally as the third member of the now infamous BoZoArtZ Duo. His mentors have been Dr. Alberton Rafols (University of Washington) and Dr. Edith Kilbuck (Lewis and Clark College). He received a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance-Accompaniment in 1986. He has also coached with Dalton Baldwin, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, and Jan Meyerowitz at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Barnes maintains long-time associations with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus (with whom he has also appeared as vocal soloist and accordionist), Bravo Vancouver, Lewis and Clark College, Portland State University and with the Old Church Society, for whom he schedules their Sack Lunch Recitals. He is also the organist of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland.

Mary McCarty, Conducting Associate

Mary conducts the vocal subgroups of PGMC, coaches soloists, and assists the Artistic Director. She is also a freelance flutist and singer who has performed with many local groups including PGMC, David York Ensemble, Choral Cross Ties, Bridges, Aurora, Confluence, Viriditas and Satori. She is the former conductor of Chrysalis Children’s Choirs and recently founded a treble choir at Sunnyside Environmental School. Before coming to Portland in 1995, Mary lived in Ithaca, NY, where she sang with the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble and performed frequently with the Genesee Baroque Orchestra (Dana Maiben, conductor). She received her Bachelor of Music degree from State University of New York at Potsdam. By day, she is an IT Manager at Daimler Trucks North America. Mary and her partner Lottie Zorn live in Portland with two fabulous daughters and many pets.