All Together Now
The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus
By Kevin Perry
Our LGBTQ story often goes unwritten. Though we have contributed some of the world’s greatest art, philosophy, and humanity, many gay pioneers are systematically relegated to the shadows of history…
But when nobody hears you, just raise your voice.
“I love to sing.” This is the simple yet pitch-perfect declaration of Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus President David Sanchez. “Everybody in the chorus is there for that same reason. They have the passion for singing.”
It’s a passion that pays off, especially for the audience. Attendees will experience a small town musical experience with a big city pedigree. “Many, many of our chorus members come from all over the United States and they have decided to make Palm Springs their home.” Sanchez continues, “They have had experiences singing with other, larger choruses. Some have sung in New York City, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, the heartland – Kansas. They love the fact that they were able to come here and make this their home, but what made it even better was that they had an avenue to continue their singing through the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus. We are grateful for them because experienced singers are always great to have.”
David was a fan of his crooning contemporaries even before he joined the chorus. “My husband and I went to attend a funeral for someone who had passed away here in Palm Springs and performing at that time was a group called the Caballeros.”
The inaugural name for the singers came from their initial meeting place: a home on Avenida Caballeros, and they proved to be gentlemen for the ages. “The chorus has been around for 20+ years now,” recounts Sanchez with a tone of capital-P Pride. “The mayor came to one of our shows last year and he proclaimed us the official gay men’s chorus for the city of Palm Springs. Yeah, it was kinda cool!”
In true musical tradition, every note from David’s vocal cords is uttered with reverence and revelry. He effortlessly switches gears from the glee of mayoral recognition to the gravity of the group’s more solemn subject matter. “Quiet No More was a compilation of eight songs from eight different conductors from throughout the country. Their mission was to tell the story of Stonewall. Through music – and it’s quite, quite beautiful – we tell the story of Stonewall from the beginning to the very end to where we need to go.”
Sanchez is always looking fiercely forward, as his band mate Jeff Hocker can attest. “David has really been a catalyst to bring our organization where it is today.” Hocker continues, “We share the vision to elevate our visibility and stature and connect with other choruses around the country. I mean, this is Palm Springs and it’s an amazing community!”
In a melodic echo of these sentiments, Sanchez chimes in. “We believe in involvement in the community where we live.”
But the chorus lends so much more than their voices to the causes they hold dear; they created a memorial initiative to honor the late activist George Zander, whose passion for gay-straight alliances (GSA’s) was as legendary as his soul. “Right now, we fund $500 scholarships to, at this point, every single GSA club in the entire Coachella Valley, in the three local school districts. So community means a lot to me.”
When asked about the euphoric alchemy that the PSGMC brings to our hometown, David Sanchez grows contemplative. “There’s a difference between a mixed chorus and a women’s chorus and a men’s chorus. When you hear a men’s chorus… all coming together to form a unique sound, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s uplifting. It makes you want to come back again. Especially when you work on a difficult, challenging piece and then at the end, when it’s time to perform it, it comes out as beautiful music that everybody can share.”
Ever mining the happiness of harmony, Sanchez beams, “So many of us who are in the chorus feel like we are family. We are there for each other, to help each other out, to be a part of this group.”
Reaching a crescendo of positivity, camaraderie, and serenity, David extends his love beyond the immediacy of his current choral members. He invites audiences and prospective inductees alike to bask in the glow of this uniquely Palm Springs orchestra of inclusion.
“It’s a wonderful organization to be a part of.”
Box Office: (760) 325-4490 | Jeffhocker1@gmail.com
Next season’s official auditions begin this August, but in true PSGMC fashion, they open their hearts (and ears) to new members year-round.