It’s been announced that the acclaimed Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) will embark on a tour of South Africa in June 2018.
The tour will build on the success of BGMC’s two previous international tours — last year’s groundbreaking trip to the Middle East and a 2005 tour of Eastern Europe —during which BGMC sang to packed audiences despite opposition to the idea of a chorus comprised of openly gay men.
“South Africa is a country of rich musical and choral traditions so we’re very excited to perform for audiences there and to honour those traditions,” said Reuben M. Reynolds III, BGMC Music Director.
“Because protest songs were an integral part of the anti-apartheid movement, South Africans believe deeply in the transformative power of music and its use as a tool to effect social change. BGMC was founded on those same beliefs and we hope our concerts will be received in that spirit.”
BGMC is planning a concert in Cape Town that will benefit PASSOP (People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty), an organization that provides support to LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.
BGMC will also meet with LGBT South Africans, and other organisations that serve them, as well as clinics working on HIV treatment and prevention. Additionally, plans are underway to perform jointly with the Pretoria Gay Men’s Chorus.
Founded in 1982, and with its mission to change hearts and minds through music, the 175-voice ensemble has a long history of engaging diverse audiences through local and national outreach concerts.
Last year’s BGMC performances in Israel and Turkey marked the first time a gay chorus performed in the region. The tour attracted worldwide media attention after a Turkish venue cancelled a performance because of vehement opposition from the Turkish government. The performance was held elsewhere with an overflow crowd.
During the 2005 European tour, BGMC’s concert in Wroclaw, Poland was nearly derailed by a massive protest organised by a right-wing group outside the venue. The chorus was escorted to the venue by police in riot gear, but the concert sold out nonetheless.
“BGMC has never been afraid to engage in difficult conversations and music is a universal language,” said Craig Coogan, Executive Director of BGMC.
“Our concerts are about sharing our stories and our humanity through song, enabling others to find common ground in our experiences. This is how change happens—when we see that there is more that unites us than divides us. We look forward to continuing these conversations, be they in South Africa or in schools, houses of worship, and community centers across Massachusetts,” said Coogan.
Watch the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus performing Madonna’s Living for Love below.