GMCW’s inspirational ‘Brand New Day’ sings of equality and inclusivity

A concert that from beginning to end was focused on the worth of all human beings in their infinite variety.

What to do on a cold, overcast, snowy Saturday afternoon? Well, I had the good fortune of having a ticket to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington Brand New Day concert at the Lincoln Theatre.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Photo by Michael Key.

GMCW has been a cultural fixture in Washington, DC, for over 40 years and is one of the oldest and largest LGBT choral organizations in the United States, with over 300 members. It has a history of entertaining performances and has a large multidimensional following. I have enjoyed many of those past shows.

Brand New Day has moved the group a step up the ladder of socially conscious, inspirational, and diversity-focused quality entertainment. The GMCW ensembles (Potomac Fever, Rock Creek Singers, Seasons of Love, 17th Street Dance, and the GenOUT Youth Chorus) delivered a program that from beginning to end was razor-focused on the issue of inclusivity, equality, and the basic idea of recognizing the worth of all human beings in their infinite variety.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Photo by Michael Key.

The songs and musical numbers were a delightful potpourri from different genres: Paul Negron singing “Human Heart,” the theme song from the Caribbean musical Once on This Island, about enduring and persevering life’s hardships; “We Are,” lushly underscoring the text of Maya Angelou’s poem “Human Family” (“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike”); soloists Matt Holland and Cooper Westbrook’ rendition of, “Perfect/Just the Way You Are”; Native American Linthicum Blackhorse’s arrangement of a traditional Lakota Sioux American Indian spiritual; the rendering of a Korean folk song, “Arirang,” about finding one’s way; and the Spanish folk song “Luz y Sombra,” about appreciating the simple things in life. Arresting arrangements of classics like “Through the Fire,” ” Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Purple Rain” were newly imagined and invigorating.

The finale was a rip-roaring, Las Vegas–style choreographic sequence from the movie The Wiz, after which the concert was named: “A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice).” Magical and thoroughly entertaining, it was a great way to convey the idea of living in a world free of bigotry, hatred, and lack of understanding.

This was an afternoon well spent, and the joy of it swept the dreary day away.

Running Time: Approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.

Brand New Day was presented by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Lincoln Theatre – 1215 U Street, in Washington, DC. For future GMCW concerts and events go to their website.

The program for Brand New Day is available online here.

BRAND NEW DAY SONG LIST

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON, DC, GenOUT YOUTH CHORUS and 17th STREET DANCE
“Human Heart” from Once on This Island
Music by Stephen Flaherty | Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Soloist: Paul Negron

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON, DC and GenOUT YOUTH CHORUS
“Chosen Family”
Music and Lyrics by Rina Sawayama, Danny Harle, and Jonny Latimer | Arranged by Raymond Rinaldo
Soloists: Alex Dy Cruz, Paul Negron

GenOUT YOUTH CHORUS
“Reflection” from Mulan
Music by Matthew Wilder | Lyrics by David Zippel

ROCK CREEK SINGERS
“Would You Harbor Me?”
Ysaÿe M. Barnwell
“We Are”
Music by Bob Chilcott | Text by Maya Angelou

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Photo by Michael Key.

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON, DC
“Heavy”
Music by Steve Milloy | Text by McKenzie Coleman
“Wankantanhan Hotan’Inpe”
Traditional Lakota Sioux American Indian Spiritual | Arranged by Lithicum-Blackhorse
Soloist: Linthicum-Blackhorse

POTOMAC FEVER
“Creep”
Music and Lyrics by Albert Hammond, Mike Hazelwood, Thomas Yorke, Jonathan Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Edward O’Brien, and Philip Selway | Arranged by Walter Chase, and Dan Ponce
“Perfect/Just the Way You Are”
Words and Music by Alecia Moore, Max Martin, and Westbrook Shellback (“Perfect”); Ari Levine, Khalil Walton, Bruno Mars, Peter Gene Hernandez, Philip Lawrence, and Khari Cain (“Just the Way You Are”)
Soloists: Matt Holland and Cooper

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON, DC
“Arirang”
Korean Folk Song | Arranged by Lon Beery
“My Dogs” from Elegies
William Finn
Soloist: John Knapp
“Luz y Sombra”
Music by Jorge Cózatl | Text by Manual Gutiérrez Nájera
Soloists: Edgár Farfan, Jahdiel Torres-Cabá
“The Harbor
Music by Brian A. Foy | Text by Emma Lazarus
“Arirang”
Korean Folk Song | Arranged by Lon Beery
“Home” from The Wiz
Charlie Smalls

SEASONS OF LOVE
Rain Medley
Soloists: Cole Jaconski, Gabriel Lopez, Thomas Reiker, Micah Yarbrough, Brent Almond
“Through the Fire”
Music and Lyrics by David Foster, Tom Keane, and Cynthia Weil
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Music and Lyrics by Paul Simon
“Purple Rain”
Music and Lyrics by Prince | Arranged by Joshua Sommerville

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON, DC, SEASONS OF LOVE and 17th STREET DANCE
“A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)” from The Wiz
Music and Lyrics by Luther Vandross | Arranged by Joshua Sommerville

SEE ALSO:
GMCW’s ‘Holiday Show’ to ring in a season celebrating LGBTQ+ grit
(season announcement)

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Michael Sainte-Andress
Michael Sainte-Andress is truly an asset to the DC Metro area and is highly regarded among local government, business, education, HIV community, and faith-based organizations.  He champions arts education in public schools, adult literacy, voter registration, and civil/human rights.  He is also a tireless advocate and courageous visionary for people living with HIV and has selflessly allowed his own journey (diagnosed HIV+ in 1986) to be an inspiration to those who witness his work in his community.  He is a graduate of Lincoln University (PA) with a degree in English and Sociology.  He is an educator, a professional multi-threat entertainer (actor/producer/director), an award-winning poet and writer, but more importantly he is fully committed to making the world a better place in which to live.  He honorably served in the U.S. Navy and since 1974 has made DC his home.  He is a two-time Mayoral appointee to the Ryan White HIV  Health Services Planning Council and a Mayoral appointee to the Citizens Police Complaint Review Board.  He does all these things with a determination and sense of purpose that is remarkable.  A good description of him is that of a “good soldier."

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