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MUSIC REVIEWS : Compelling Concert by Gay Men's Chorus


As one might expect at a performance by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, there is more to transcend than the notes in a score. The concert Saturday at the Wiltern Theatre was no exception.

Everywhere--in the program book, the speeches from the stage, the texts of the music--the event spoke of solidarity and community: Surviving AIDS, the scourge of a whole population, and triumphing over discrimination (the ban on gays in the military) were the primary matters at hand.

Yes, one paid attention to the music and the singing. But how to put that in perspective when the names listed in memoriam total 88, when there were also ads for burial services and discount pharmacies lending their support to the chorus?

If massed voices upraised in song can lift spirits and grant courage then that is reason enough.

It hardly matters that the chorus seems on a par with a college glee club, or that director Jon Bailey's spoken effusions sometimes sound like those of a big-tent revival leader.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 7, 1993 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 5 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Gay Men's Chorus-- Eddy Clement was one of the two pianists accompanying the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theatre performance reviewed in Monday's Times. Also, the coarranger of "I Love Paris" is Jim Grady; his name was misspelled in the review.

When the program opened with William Hawley's "Zephyrus the Awakener" and the 150 singers divided into four groups stationed around the hall the audience was embraced by their inspirational presence.

Thereafter, with the help of hard-working pianists Bill Trusten and Bob Daggett, occasional percussion, oboe, horns and bass, the chorus ventured a varied program--everything from Schumann's rarely heard Motet for Double Men's Chorus to songs of Cole Porter.

In between came two premieres: Carlos Rodriguez's beauteous "A la Torre del Cielo," which alternated majestic outpourings with ethereal long lines and Roger Bourland's stirring anthem, "All There Is Is Love," a setting of best-selling author Paul Monette's words that ended aptly with "Pity Us Not."

But it was "I Love Paris" and "Deep River" (arranged by Jim Brady and Dean X. Johnson, respectively) that showed the chorus off to best effect.

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