Fort Lauderdale gay men’s chorus celebrates 35 sonorous years

Bradley Bush never wanted to join the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, which will celebrate its 35th singing season with a concert in May.

“I was aware that the chorus existed, but I was not interested in joining them,” said Bush, a Pompano Beach Realtor. “I already had a preconceived notion that it was not a good sounding chorus, I didn’t want to be a part of that.”

 But Bush ended up joining the chorus after he performed with them 19 years ago at a Miami Marlins game and has been a member ever since..

“When I got into rehearsals with them, I realized that, you know, I was completely incorrect, that it was a wonderful sound,” he said.

The chorus was founded by Gary E. Keating in 1986 and will celebrate its 35th season with a “Why We Sing” concert in May. 

“It will be our 36th-anniversary celebration,” said Keating, who has a doctorate in choral conducting. “We’re putting together music from the entire last 36 years.”

Keating said he was inspired to start the organization after watching the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus perform in Carnegie Hall.

 “It struck me that it would be a really wonderful thing for the community having seen the response of the gay community in New York City,” he said. “I knew there was nothing going on here. I mean, there were some bars, but that was it.”

The anniversary concert will include songs from the chorus’s 36 year history including “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” the first song Keating taught.

Justin Knight, the choir’s president, said members have already contacted him regarding the concert.

“Quite a few will appear in concert,” Knight said.

Gay Men’s Chorus president Justin Knight hands out music at rehearsal. Photo Credit: Adrianna Rojas / SFMN

Knight said the chorus is a vital part of the LGBTQ community both artistically and for political reasons.

“We’re under attack again as we have been for 35 years,” Knight said. “We’re building community and bridges in South Florida and we’re doing that through music.”

The concert is on Saturday, May 7, 8 p.m., at the United Church of Christ, 2501 NE 30th St, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $35. For more information call 954-832-0060 or visit the choir’s website.

Adrianna is currently studying for a major in journalism with a specific track in the arts. Her hobbies are dissecting films and learning more about the world around her via news and reading.