Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus ‘melts hearts’ this holiday season

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Due to popular demand, the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus performs their holiday special three days in a row starting Dec. 15

The choir’s special, “Frozen Hearts/Melted Here,” is described as a combination of “Broadway to Jazz, Pop to Christmas at the Movies, Pentatonix Christmas to GLEE and Classical to Rock.” The choir performs Dec. 15, 16 and 17 at the John Paul Theatre at Phoenix College.

Ted Simons: THOSE ARE THE SOUNDS OF THE PHOENIX METROPOLITAN MEN'S CHORUS, WHICH IS CELEBRATING ITS 27TH YEAR, AND IS PREPARING FOR ITS ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONCERT. Beautiful music. Beautiful time of year. JOINING US NOW IS BRANDON SOURS, VICE PRESIDENT OF GRAND CANYON PERFORMING ARTS, WHICH RUNS THE MEN'S CHORUS.

Brandon Sours: Hello.

Ted Simons: Hello to you. Thanks for being here.

Brandon Sours: Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: That sounded pretty good.

Brandon Sours: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Sounds like you know what you are doing.

Brandon Sours: Sounds like we rehearsed.

Ted Simons: For a chorus like that, how often do you practice?

Brandon Sours: During the season we practice every Tuesday around two and a half hours. Because of our performances this weekend, we are rehearsing every night 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Ted Simons: So a hefty schedule. As far as the Grand Canyon performing arts, we are talking about the Phoenix men's chorus. What is the difference?

Brandon Sours: The Grand Canyon performing arts is the performing art organization. Housed underneath that is the flagship chorus, the gentlemen that are here today, the Phoenix men's chorus and others under the organization as well. In addition to those you see today, we have the youth chorus that we partner and colab with, one in ten. An organization here in Phoenix that work with the LGBT youth, a youth chorus as well and beginning in 2018, we have a transgender chorus partnering with us as well.

Ted Simons: That is a lot going on. You are celebrating the 27th season. When this started, what was the mission? What was the goal?

Brandon Sours: We started in 1991, a time the LGBT community needed representation. We felt best back then what was most important was to come together to unite through the power of song. The LGBT community in Phoenix needed a voice. It needed a group of people who were committed to educating the community, to inspire the community and bring people together through music. 27 years ago, that was the dream. That was the goal. We have continued that mission ever since.

Ted Simons: Sounds like those involved, dues paying volunteers. What does that mean?

Brandon Sours: Yes, for what we do, the performances we do and the impact we have in the community, we are a nonprofit organization. We consider ourselves our own supporters in that, if you will. Although we are dues paying member, that allows us to do the things we do. It allows us to have the venues we have, the costumes, the music we bring in. Some of that goes from our dues. It allows us to get to the community and get more donation, and more support for what we do.

Ted Simons: You mentioned costumes. There is staging, video, all sorts of stuff. It started as a recital choir. You are calling yourself a show chorus now?

Brandon Sours: We are. Our mission is to entertain. We promise to do that. We are a show chorus. We don't just stand on the risers and sing lovely choral music. We do that as well, but you are going to see choreography if you come to our performances. You will see people moving. You see comedy. You see a bit of drama, a bit of flair. You can find everything at one of our performances. That is really why we call ourselves a show chorus.

Ted Simons: You mentioned things are pretty crowded this time of year. For the rest of the year, how often does the chorus perform?

Brandon Sours: We consistently perform throughout the entire year. We currently do two large shows. We do the holiday concert in the winter coming up this weekend and then we do a larger concert in June as well. We have two large performances that we put on for the community. In the meantime, that goes into our mission statement and our work, we are always out and about in our community performing at different opportunities for us to get out and representing the LGBT.

Ted Simons: Are you finding the opportunities increasing as the years go on?

Brandon Sours: Yeah absolutely. Given the state of the nation and everything going on, I think more and more so we are being called to be advocates for our community. There are more and plenty of opportunities in Phoenix to do what we do.

Ted Simons: You mentioned earlier being involved in service projects. Talk to us more about that. You don't have to sing to be involved in that.

Brandon Sours: Absolutely. Meaning service projects, what we do in the community?

Ted Simons: Exactly.

Brandon Sours: Absolutely. A couple of things we do, we partner with a lot of agencies that support the LGBT community. We are housed in the parson center for health and wellness which houses other community service organizations too. We try to see where do we fit into their mission, the work they do? Can we be there to participate and volunteer our time, but can we provide music as well?

Ted Simons: It's a well-rounded situation. You have performance. Then you have service. Quite a range there. Do you do auditions? I imagine you probably got folks all you need or am I wrong about this?

Brandon Sours: We are always auditioning. We are always auditioning. Currently our members are 75 gentlemen. We would love to see that grow. There is plenty of room to do so. We are always having auditions. Not everyone in our chorus has formal training. Not everyone reads music. Not everyone has sung in an actual ensemble before. We welcome anyone with a passion for singing. Anyone who has a passion for music.

Brandon Sours: If someone has that passion. Maybe they are not up there at that level quite yet, are there different choruses that get you to the top?

Brandon Sours: Absolutely. One thing we are able to do, we are a large ensemble but we have several opportunities to get your feet wet, if you will. The gentleman you saw earlier today is part of canyon echoes, which we also are kind of promoters of the chorus at large. We go out into the community venue to do those things. We have a group of eight, called harmonic vibrations. We have been doing a cappella numbers. We believe we fit everywhere. We are trying to figure out where we fit best.

Ted Simons: The gentlemen we heard earlier, we would like to hear them again. Why don't you go back over there and get everyone settled. THE WINTER PROGRAM FOR THE PHOENIX METROPOLITAN MEN'S CHORUS IS TITLED "FROZEN HEARTS MELTED HERE" AND YOU CAN SEE IT AT PHOENIX COLLEGE THIS FRIDAY AT 8:00 AND THEN AGAIN SATURDAY AT 7:00 and SUNDAY AT 2:00. The Phoenix men's chorus. What do you say we hear from them once again?

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