By Shelby Clark Petkus
The LanSINGout Gay Men's Chorus will perform its winter concert, "Wishing You Peace and Joy: A Christmas Concert," on Dec. 6 and 7. Under artistic director Peter R. Morse and accompanied by David Wiseman, the concert will be performed in conjunction with the Lansing First Presbyterian Bell Choir and Organist as well as the Michigan State University student brass quintet. The concert will feature a wide variety of musical selections, from Handel and sacred music to modern spirituals and secular tunes. A Christmas Carol Singalong will follow the evening.
Morse says, "Since late August, the men have been hard at work preparing for our next major concert. This is one of the biggest efforts yet, as we're teaming with the First Presbyterian Church Bell Choir Organist and the MSU student brass ensemble. The men and I are dang excited and ready to present the show."
Since December 1988, the Lansing gay chorus has helped portray a positive image of the gay community while also serving as a safe space for gay men to meet. Originally the Greater Lansing Gay Men's Chorus, the organization became the LanSINGout Gay Men's Chorus in 2011, reflecting the organization's growth, while also presenting the group's new mission statement of enriching the greater Lansing community through music and fellowship.
Examples of that fellowship to the community include years of participation in the Lansing AIDS Walk. The group even held a concert to benefit the Lansing Area AIDS Network (the network awarded the singing group in 2010 for their work). Other charities that have been supported by LanSINGout include Ele's Place in 2008, Lansing Food Bank in 2009 and the Lansing Community College Music Scholarship Fund in 2010 (all received a portion of concert proceeds from the chorus).
This emphasis on community involvement stems from a strategic planning process implemented years ago, when the chorus decided to widen its focus to more of Lansing. By entertaining a diverse audience and actively supporting area non-profits, the enrichment of the community is nurtured thanks to LanSINGout. Some further examples of this work includes singing Christmas carols in the atrium of Lansing City Hall, performing at Turner-Dodge House and commemorating World AIDS Day with a special ceremony at the Hannah Center.
Currently 36 members make up the chorus, granting the group a diverse makeup of different voices and talents, with many of the members holding tenure of over 15 years. LanSINGout has only seen consistent increases in the musicianship of its members that ranges from the ability to perform Broadway musical selections to African processionals.
"I created a musically diverse concert to highlight the many wonderful ways we celebrate the Christmas holiday season," Morse notes. "I'm thrilled that this concert is an exciting collaboration between LanSINGout and the music program at Lansing First Presbyterian Church, our wonderful hosts and friends."
The LanSINGout Gay Men's Chorus winter performance will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7 at Lansing First Presbyterian Church, 510 W. Ottawa St., Lansing. Tickets range from $12-20 and can be purchased online. For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.lansingout.org.