The Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus (CGMC) was founded in January 1990 as the dream of five individuals: Doug Althauser, Kevin Cary, Bob Germain, Phil Martin, and Jack Wisniewski. After months of discussion and research, the five incorporated the Chorus and began rehearsals in September of that year. Rehearsals were held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and the debut concert took place on December 9, 1990 at the Thurber Theater on the OSU Campus. Fifty-one men sang in that first concert.
In 1990, the Chorus hired David Price as its inaugural Artistic Director. Mr. Price served 7 years directing the chorus and helping establish strong traditions and musical performances. During his time, Mr. Price took the Chorus to its very first GALA Festival performance in Denver, Colorado. In addition, he helped found Vox Alterna in 1991. During this time, the Chorus released its first CD called, “Stepping Out.” The Chorus again went to GALA with Mr. Price in 1996.
Then, in 1997, the chorus hired David Monseur as the new Artistic Director. Mr. Monseur served as the director of the Chorus until 2010. Under his guidance, the Chorus held its first Joy! Concert at the King Avenue United Methodist Church. This year, after Mr. Monseur’s departure, Dr. Tim Sarsany has stepped in as interim Artistic Director until a national search is completed.
Over the years there have been several highlights of note for the Chorus. Mr. Monseur expanded the Chorus by founding Illuminati, which internationally debuted at the GALA Festival in Montreal, Canada. In addition, the Chorus released another CD. Joy! is now an established holiday favorite of Columbus and has been expanded to include communities that need to hear our message as well. Mr. Monseur left the Chorus in 2010 and Dr. Timothy Sarsany now serves as our Artistic Director, continuing the road to success.
Over the years, the Chorus has accomplished many other things as well. In 1999, Ann Hampton Calloway performed with the Chorus and dedicated one of her songs in memory of the Chorus’s accompanist, the late Robin Rakes. The Chorus has also performed with other arts groups including: ProMusica, Ballet Met, Opera Columbus, Anna and the Annadroids, Cincinnati Chorus, and other established singing groups. The Chorus has also performed for the Ohio Democratic Party Fundraising dinner where the governor accepted and proudly wore a Chorus pin!
Recently, the Chorus Board of Directors has taken steps to transition the working board into a governing board. At the same time, the board has established the Crescendo Fund, an endowment fund which will ensure a solid financial grounding for the future. In addition, the Chorus hired the first Executive Director in 2007 to help coordinate and establish the Chorus as a Tier One arts organization.
This is not an “all inclusive” history of the chorus. For more history, please talk to any of our members or even the founders!