Halifax's only gay chorus is performing live again after two years and after already selling 1,200 tickets, they say it's clear people in HRM are ready and eager for more queer entertainment.
"We've sold 85 per cent of the tickets for our three shows already, and that's just so exciting," says Tim Cross, president of Halifax Gay Men's Chorus.
HGMC will be performing Dec. 9, 10 and 11 at St. Andrew's United Church on Coburg Road in Halifax. Ticket prices are reduced for seniors and youth.
"Everybody is very excited to get up and perform again in front of an audience. There's nothing like performing in front of an audience," says Cross.
HGMC started in 2018 and Cross says they only expected 20 people at most to sign up, but to his surprise, he had triple that number interested.
Now, they have about 55 people that will be performing in their December concerts. Cross says they already have people waiting to sign up for the chorus in the new year, and it's been special to see the chorus grow over the years.
'A really good mix'
"It's a really good mix. There are guys there who are retired, and then there's some younger guys who are just starting up their careers," says Cross. "It spans right through all ages. So that's been one of the really exciting things for us."
Adam Reid, the executive director of Halifax Pride, says it's good to see the queer art community flourish.
"It's great that queer groups and individuals are taking up space like this, creating space with inside institutions that maybe you know, could use some education and deep reflection on their practices."
St. Andrew's Church has been an ally to LGBTQ people since 2017, and they say they couldn't be happier to not only be the venue for HGMC's comeback concert but to have a relationship with them.
"We are a welcoming and open community, and we fly the Pride flag with pride," says Kevin Parks, the minister of music at St. Andrew's Church. "We just have to open our hearts to things that we don't necessarily understand and examine why we hold the beliefs that we hold. We fully embrace and welcome everyone here at St. Andrew's."
Parks also says that St. Andrew's takes safety very seriously so everyone attending the concert will be asked for proof of vaccination at the door and will be asked to keep their masks on at all times. They will limit attendance to 400 people.
Susan Chisholm, a minister at St. Andrew's, told CBC News that providing this space is the least they can do, considering the tribulations queer people still face today.
"The Halifax Gay Men's Chorus, with their gorgeous voices, are a beautiful expression of this. And the more time we spend together, the better," says Chisholm. "The assault that has been — continues to be — waged on queer people in the name of religion is frankly blasphemous to the Christian gospel."
Cross says the show will consist of traditional Christmas songs but will also feature some old disco favourites and will be a great opportunity for people not only to enjoy some familiar music, but to reconnect with their community.
"It's rare that there's an opportunity for youth and mature people to come together, and the support has been just remarkable," says Cross. "There are so few opportunities for the LGBTQ community to gather in any kind of an organized way, aside from what happens with Pride."
Cross thinks back to a poignant moment in his career when one of the group's soloists sang the song My Father's Son from the musical Kinky Boots. The song deals with the emotional relationship between a father and his gay son.
"We had no idea what he was going to say as a soloist … and he basically said to the audience, 'For anybody out there who feels marginalized or like, you're struggling, you have a family right here.'"
Cross says that is something he'll always remember: the LGBTQ community for many is the family they never had. Cross says no matter what gender or what sexuality you are, he hopes everyone walks away from their show feeling welcomed.
"This is a community that everybody is welcome to be a part of and that the experience is open to everybody."