By Michael Sainte-Andress
This article was first published in DC Theater Arts here.
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.
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.
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.