The North Coast Gay Men's Chorus (NCMC) bought the Christmas 2018 season in with a concert on December first at the Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square. I received a free ticket due to their outreach to local Gay Straight Alliances on college campuses. I had never been to one of their formal concerts — I've only seen them perform at Cleveland Gay Pride Festivals.
The theater was packed with people in floor seats while I didn't see too many people in balcony seats. As with any show there, people partook of the cash bar, and many people were dressed up in expensive fancy clothing for the evening.
I was surprised at just how many men were in the choir, it looked to be 100 men on that stage but it was actually only 74 — not including the director, two pianists, and three American Sign Language interpreters, and a man playing the double bass. The choir performed 25 songs, with 10 solo performances, three dancing and singing numbers, and a 15 minute intermission.
I used to be part of a Gospel choir at Cleveland State University back in 2003-2004, so I know the tremendous amount of work it takes to remember lyrics of songs during concerts, yet these men had to remember so much more and did it without looking like they broke any sweat over it. They kept the show going through two performance time slots that day, wardrobe malfunctions, and paying respect to their executive director, retiring after 11 years of service. Through it all, there weren't shy about interacting with fans, guests, and hanging out with those of us from the Gay Straight Alliances during Intermission.
I was happy to see quite a few men I knew personally from the Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays Support Group (PFLAG).
All the choir had beautiful angelic voices, but the 10 solo numbers were really something. Marc R. Copler who sang
“Please Come Home For Christmas” blew the audience away with his solo — he seriously needs to either audition for American Idol or pursue a solo singing career!
The “Insubordinate Claus” and “Reindeer Tango” skits were hysterical. One was about the reindeer going on strike because Santa was busy on social media, didn't recognize some of the reindeers different religious practices, and kept getting Blitzen's name wrong. The other was Mrs. Claus fed up with Santa giving presents and affection to other women and declaring how she'll be looking for someone new.
The handwork that the Coastliners of the choir performed during their first skit “Snowfall” was mesmerizing and entertaining. The audience was generally impressed with their chorus line dance-like routine. Plus since I'm a fan of snow in general, having the crew sprinkle snow down the front stage during certain numbers enhanced my enjoyment of the show that much more.
I definitely look forward to seeing more of their concerts in the future. This concert not only started the Christmas season but also started their concert season of 2019. Their next concert will be their 10th Annual “Mardi Gras” on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Windows On The River in the Powerhouse of The Flats.