Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus’ ‘Movie Night’ embodies LGBT community
Now in its 33rd season, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) has already performed before more than 20,000 people this year and its “Movie Night” added to the count with a nearly sold-out performance at Balboa Theatre on April 21. With more than 200 singers, dancers and musicians on hand, SDMC’s spring performance on Movie Night was everything an audience could wish for and much more.
Consisting of songs featured in movie titles ranging from the 1920s to present day, this concert radiated a full range of emotions from laughter to tears with some of the most powerful and endearing performances eliciting a variety of responses — from dancing in seats to reverent silence as the audience was drawn in by what can only be described as magical pieces of artistic harmonic compositions.
Though there was not a poor performance in the house that night, there were some absolutely stunning stand-out performances during the evening which deserve an encore applause.
What I thought was going to be a cute performance with Kermit the Frog, sung by Scott Teerlink (who has an uncanny resemblance to the affable amphibian), “Rainbow Connection” quickly turned into a moving performance when the chorus took over. It was like hearing the lyrics for the first time in a beautiful Broadway ballad fashion that brought life to the song like I’ve never heard before.
I was concerned when I saw Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the list as there are only three people in all of the versions that I have heard that I believe do this iconic song justice, (Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and k. d. lang). But, my concerns were quickly swept away as the quartet, (David Decker, Danny Makholm, Andy Mathews and Brandon Pohl), began singing. Each taking a verse on their own, all four of them delivered the conviction that Cohen’s powerful lyrics deserve. In a four tenors-styled performance, they brought the words to life with the emotion and reverence. It was absolutely breathtaking.
“Glory” from the movie “Selma,” was a most powerful performance. The chorus and soloists Kori Gillis and Kenny Perry took the audience to church and as close to the gates of heaven as you can get here on earth. This is a rendition that I will never forget and took me back to my days in Pentecostal church. It was difficult to refrain from dancing in the isles.
I haven’t had the chance to see “The Greatest Showman” yet, but after hearing “This Is Me,” and the message that is so clearly an anthem for the LGBT community, I’ll get a copy. This was such an empowering song it brought me to tears. The casting of the soloist could not have been better (DC James, David Lucena, Spencer Luster and Adriano Mabeza). Their voices and message of acceptance and unapologetic for who you are were clear, and in combination with the chorus, one of the most moving songs I have heard in many years.
And speaking of DC James, who sang the entirety of “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast” as all of the film’s characters in a spotless performance, I was speechless. From low notes to power notes, changing accents, and facial expressions, this one-man show was a showstopper that had everyone cheering.
James is a freak of nature, and I mean that in the most admiring, respectable way. There are very few, if any, singers in the world that could pull off what he did on stage. Bravura!
This entire show was an eclectic selection of the best in movie musicals, and each and every performance deserves attention. The addition of dancers and performers throughout the show made this a first-class night of entertainment. Every time I see the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus perform, they always kick it up a notch. This time, each and every part of the crew, dancers and singers took it to an entire new level of professionalism in music.
SDGMC is a class act and I cannot wait to see their next performance.
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.