Mission and Values
It’s easy to tell by our name that we sing! And we have a reputation for doing it very well. However, we sing for a purpose. Singing is the vehicle—the instrument through which we strive to accomplish that purpose.
We Sing to Change Minds
It might surprise you that in our history there have been men who have invited friends, and family members to our shows as their way of coming out. They have found the concert to be a safe place to start that very difficult conversation about identity.
When that family member realized that their son, or brother, or close friend was gay, they had to think. Sometimes that happened when they got the invitation. Sometimes it happened after they arrived and realized where they were. But when they witnessed the guys all dressed up in their tuxes, and making beautiful music, they could not help but to be changed! We raise our voices in song to change minds.
We Sing to Transform Lives
First, the lives of those members who have used the chorus as their safe tool for being their true selves in public have been transformed. The chorus is also a place that has seen a lot of transformation in other ways. Sadly, drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, depression, and many other troubles are more prominent in the LGBTQ community. The Austin Gay Men’s Chorus has seen people’s lives not only transformed, but literally saved. It has provided the life line for members to gain the strength to come clean, find strength—to live. We raise our voices to transform lives.
We Sing to Build Community
We provide a safe space. In our early years, there was an epidemic that was striking down many gay men. The gay bars, which had been the safe place for LGBTQ people became a place of fear. It was in that dark time that the Chorus formed to provide a safe space for gay men to gather for a shared activity. A shared goal. A new kind of community. As the years passed, the need for community has not changed. Marriage equality doesn’t mean much to the young man whose family refuses to allow him to come home for the holidays.
But our community building goes beyond our singing members. It extends to our audience and beyond. This was made clear in a new way to this author by a recent performance at The Rollins Theater in Austin’s Long Center. After the show—in typical fashion—our audience and our singers stood chatting. And laughing. And hugging. And laughing some more. Finally, the Long Center Staff had to shoo them out. It was time to lock up! But as they did, they expressed amazement and joy. The typical audience leaving any performance at the Center races to see who can be first to the parking lot. The staff had never seen an audience that didn’t want to leave. We raise our voices to build community.
The Austin Gay Men’s Chorus is gay men and their allies raising voices in song to change minds, transform lives, and build community.
- We value community based on diversity and equality for our members, patrons and other organizations
- We value the courage it takes to create an environment of integrity, respect and acceptance
- We value choral excellence as the instrument by which we express our values