The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus
The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus began in 1981 with the name The Brash Ensemble. It started as a sixteen-member group and has varied in size from eight to forty members. As one of the country’s first gay men’s choruses, the new ensemble functioned as a performing group within its parent organization, Common Bond.
As surprising as it may seem today, early members worried about being openly gay and often found it hard to find a director willing to conduct an openly gay group. The brave conductors during its first decade were Bill Boyer, Alan Stringer, Bob Morris, John Roberts, David Arellanes, Sean Dougherty, and Stephen Montoya. For more than half its history, the chorus rehearsed in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, with members driving between the two cities and from as far away as Los Alamos and the East Mountains. No other gay chorus in the country ranged over such a wide geographic area.
In addition to concerts, the chorus has sung for numerous AIDS events, church services, holiday parties, senior centers, the annual Presbyterian hospital tree lighting, with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Zia gay rodeo, Isotope baseball games, the Albuquerque Gay Pride festival, and GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) festivals in three other states and Canada. The chorus has also performed in El Paso, Phoenix, Tucson, Taos, Las Cruces, Grants, Socorro, Farmington, and Los Alamos, clearly claiming our namesake and making us The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus.
NMGMC was one of the first choruses in the country to become members of the GALA. Most recently, the Chorus performed at GALA Festival 2004 in Montreal, Canada; at GALA Festival 2008 in Miami, FL; and at GALA Festival 2012 in Denver, CO.
NMGMC was honored as “Honorary Dignitaries” at PrideFest 2007. In 2013, the Metropolitan Community Church recognized the Chorus with an award for “Recognition of Music.” In 2013, Albuquerque’s LGBTIQ community by vote selected NMGMC to receive Albuquerque Pride’s “OUTstanding Performing Group” award.
Aaron Howe director
Aaron Howe has been making music with people in New Mexico for the last 20 years. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Eastern New Mexico University and his Master of Music from the University of New Mexico. He has served as Music Director for Heights First Church of the Nazarene and Community of Joy Lutheran Church. He also directed the choral program at St. Pius X High School. In addition, he has worked as music director for many community theaters, including Musical Theater Southwest, Albuquerque Little Theater, and Play Conservatory. Since 2010, Aaron has served as the Artistic Director of The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus, arranging and conducting four concert series per year, along with many additional community performances. In 2013, Aaron co-founded The Rio Rancho Youth Chorus as its first Artistic Director. He is proud and honored to be a part of the wonderful arts community here in New Mexico.