Gala Choruses Festival Takes On Somber But Healing Tone

By Howard Nathan

DENVER (CBS4)– Members of the Orlando Gay Chorus will appear at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on Sunday evening as part of a large gathering of gay chorus organizations for the Gala Choruses Festival.

This year, the performance will take on a more somber tone than in years past.

Music can be therapeutic but for some 60 members of the Orlando Gay Chorus their music means so much more. They spent Saturday rehearsing in Denver and searching for what will help them heal from the worst mass shooting in U.S. history at the Pulse nightclub. Forty-nine people were killed and dozens more wounded in last month’s shooting.

People visit a memorial for those killed at the Pulse nightclub last Saturday night on June 16, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mir Seddique Mateen shot the victims in what appears to be an ISIS inspired attack in which 49 people were killed early Sunday and 53 people were wounded. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People visit a memorial for those killed at the Pulse nightclub last Saturday night on June 16, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mir Seddique Mateen shot the victims in what appears to be an ISIS inspired attack in which 49 people were killed early Sunday and 53 people were wounded. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“Still memories of past relationships,” said chorus member Craig Thompson.

He planned to appear at the nightclub the night of the shooting, but after finishing a performance at another venue, he decided to cancel.

“Well, we have an hour to drive so we decided to hold off and not go,” explained Thompson.

For the LGBT community, there is a silver lining in the aftermath.

“Something like this brings out the the love that I think is there all along. It’s unfortunate that a few people have that type of hatred and have to express it the way that they do,” said chorus member Marvin Villard.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Thousands from across the country and beyond have been mingling with Orlando’s chorus to offer support.

“Their face is like, ‘Ahhhh… can I hug you?’ It really has been immediate, that, ‘Oh, wow!'” said Carol Studer, Vice President of the Orlando Gay Chorus. “We’ve done more laughing in the last 24 hours than we’ve done in the last three weeks.”

Howard Nathan is a veteran newsman. Decades later, he still enjoys writing a clever sentence, asking the tough question and talking to people in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Howard and read his bio.

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