Music builds bridges. It brings people together," says Guy McPherson, founder and former president of Springs' Out Loud: The Colorado Springs Men's Chorus. In any other context, such a simple sentiment would be prone to dismissal, a cliché. But it regains its deeper meaning when applied to the story of Out Loud.
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The framework for the now 10-year-old choir was put together at First Congregational Church, where McPherson and his fellow founding members gathered around a piano with a few hymnals. Word quickly spread through the church, and the group soon found themselves performing for the congregation.
"We weren't deciding to start a gay men's chorus at that moment," McPherson says, "but the church went crazy for it."
The interest didn't subside, and the momentum soon proved too strong to turn back.
At the same time McPherson and the choir — some of whom were military personnel — were planning the group's public debut, "A Night on Broadway," Don't Ask, Don't Tell was making its way through the headlines. When the Gazette came calling, the choir's future was destined to go one of two ways. "[The Gazette article] almost put us in a panic mode," McPherson says. "We didn't know what the backlash was [going to be]."
The backlash came in the form of an outpouring of public support and unsolicited donations — nothing the group really expected.
"That first concert showcased that people wanted to support the gay community," McPherson says, "and this was a new way that they could do that."
Ten strong years later, McPherson is proud of what he and his fellow choir members have been able to accomplish.
"I think we've represented Colorado Springs well," he says, "I hope we continue to bring our message of tolerance and love, and justice for all — it's not just about us. ... And there are plenty of showtunes; we'll never run out."
Original article published by the Colorado Springs Independent 7/6/2016
Story by Craig Lemley & Photo by Casey Bradley Gent