Crescendo!, Spring 2013

Volume 11  Issue 1  Spring 2013

Chorus receives grants for musicians and risers

After completing a competitive grant process, the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) has awarded the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus a Decentralization (DEC) grant that will pay for professional musicians at our spring concert. The DEC program is administered through the Arts Services Initiative (ASI) of Western New York. This grant was made possible with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. We are truly grateful to ASI and NYSCA. Not to be outdone, our good friends at EmbraceWNY have awarded the Chorus the seed money towards the purchase of portable concert risers. The set we have now is difficult to transport and set up and is in hazardous condition. We are looking forward to being able to perform safely and easily in a wider variety of venues! EmbraceWNY is dedicated to equality and fairness within Western New York and seeks to raise awareness, understanding and acceptance of the LGBT community amongst all citizens. Their annual fundraiser, the Buffalo Brunch, enables them to raise awareness of the LGBT community while promoting equality and justice for all Western New Yorkers. We are honored to have been recognized by both funders as an important presence in the Buffalo cultural community. Both grants were compiled and submitted by the BGMC grant writing committee, Mark Smith and Cynthia Van Ness.

Help us reach our goal of $3000 for new risers! Please make your tax- deductable donation at or send a check to the address below.

Learn more at:

51 Colonial Circle ■ Buffalo, NY 14222 ■ 716-883-1277 ■ ■ Page 1

Chorus Appears at GSA

President's Message

Gregory Ciupak, Baritone

Photo by Don Yager

I am not sure that there has ever been a better time to be a member of the LGBT family in America, than right now. In what other inaugural address were the rights of gay and lesbian Americans addressed fully without reservation? Homosexuals serving openly in the armed forces, and two United States Supreme Court cases heard in one week, debating with conviction the rights of gay and lesbians to legally marry in America. We are becoming more and more the fabric of America. as we sing The Great American Songbook. We’ve Got Rhythm will feature wonderful classic American music sung by a proud group of gay and gay-affirming men who embody what America is meant to be. We rightfully take our place, maybe some of us for the first time, feeling that we are the voice of America. We are the faces of your relatives and neighbors, co-workers and friends, service men and women and professionals, and we will perform for you some of most influential music written in the 20 th century. You will hear amongst others, Gershwin and Berlin, Arlen and Porter in the great tradition of brass and jazz arrangements. Think beautifully smooth music accompanied by a brass ensemble. What a time indeed! I promise that you will leave our concert feeling proud of American music, proud to be a supporter of the arts, and very proud be part of the BGMC family, a truly American family. Thank you for all that you do to inspire us to strive to higher levels, to bring the music that you want to hear alive in our performance…especially for YOU! In this spirit and with great pride we celebrate our spring seasons concert

Looking down from the balcony at Hamlin House, there was a sense of calm and splendor that was almost ethereal. A dimly lit room, a glow with a couple hundred candles, lovers canoodling, holding hands, arms interlocked in embrace. That truly was the scene at the BGMC’s Valentine Cabaret show Hooray for Love , which took place at Hamlin House on February 16 th . Revived from years past, the BGMC set out to produce a wonderful evening to celebrate the theme of Love. The evening included a 2-hour open bar, hors d'oeuvre, endless desserts, and thirty wonderful baskets for raffle.

Forty-three members of the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus plus Artistic Director Ciaran Krueger and Accompanist Debi Overton participated in the 5th annual Gay-Straight Alliance Conference (GSA) on March 20 at Amherst High School. Twenty-six GSAs participated in the after-school event. Some schools chartered buses for their students. Motivated by "Think what it would have meant to you to have a chorus like the BGMC come and sing at your high school when you were a teenager," the Chorus opened with Seize The Day , reminding the 300 students that "Nothing can break us, no one can make us give our rights away!" Workshops included "Writing Letters re: DOMA," "How to Pick a LGBT- Friendly College," and "Sing with the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus!" Two dozen students met BGMC members and learned about our backgrounds and career paths. Ciaran taught the group to follow choral direction and sing pop phenomenon Lady Gaga's hit Born This Way ("I'm beautiful in my own way/'Cause God makes no mistakes/I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way"). They also heard about exciting plans to form a Youth Chorus. Closing ceremonies ended with 20 students joining us on stage, leading the entire room in a rocking rendition of Born This Way. On the final verse, singers ran into the crowd, dancing and clapping and bringing the entire assembly to their feet. Students left for their buses singing and dancing. Over forty students have since inquired about joining the planned youth chorus. --Mark Smith

Photo by Hanford Searl, Jr.

Most important however, were the 20+ performances featuring the men of the BGMC. Some had never sung solo before. Endless cheers of support for each performance filled the room. We were among friends, which made the night truly magical. The BGMC is striving to make this our signature event going forward and a date for February 15, 2014 has already been set. If you missed this year, put a big circle on your calendar for next year. You want to be part of this night. --Greg Ciupak

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Hang this on a bulletin board or refrigerator near you!

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Calling All Newlyweds !

Open a free account, benefit the Chorus

The Research Library at the Buffalo History Museum is collecting pictures & papers from same-sex couples wed under New York State’s equal marriage law. This may be the first time that any library in the US has collected wedding memorabilia from legally-married same-sex couples! BGMC alumni Delwyn Milander and Mark Meyer were the first couple to donate their wedding pictures & papers.

The Chorus needs to centralize our files, minutes, committee reports, and so on in a secure, private, online storage site. We looked around and decided on Dropbox. With your help, we can get a lot of free storage space. If you use our custom link to open a free Dropbox account for your stuff, we get 500 MB of free storage space for our stuff. There is one easy download and no annoying set-up process. It has an easy drag & drop interface, just like moving files anywhere else on your computer. You get 2 GB free. You'll soon prefer Dropbox to carrying around flash drives. No more discovering that the document you need at work is trapped miles away on your home computer. Dropbox works on every device you use, including your smartphone, laptop, and office workstation. Once it is in Dropbox, it is accessible anywhere.

Full details on the project here:

Questions? See BGMC board member Cynthia Van Ness or email:

The Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus is proud to be a co- sponsor of the 2013 AIDS Walk. That’s our tiny logo at the base of the McKinley monument! Chorus friends and supporters are invited to join us in Delaware Park on May 18.

Open your own Dropbox account by using this link:

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We’re on Twitter!


Chorus President Gregory Ciupak supervised a team at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who developed Roswell's first ever mobile laboratory, screening and education unit, enabling Roswell to serve rural and remote communities draw and analyze blood right on site. New singer Nicholas Becht [T2] is scheduled to give a talk on June 12, 2013 at the Buffalo History Museum. His topic is the history of cross-dressing and drag in the Buffalo area.

And on Facebook!

Dennis Stuart [B1] and his partner Roger Seifert recently toured India, Thailand, Myanmar, and Hong Kong.

Journalist Hanford Searl, Jr . [T1] has been named to Who’s Who in the Media for the 4 th time.

IngramMicro has named Timothy Mahiques [B2] Senior Manager of Operations and Sales.

Vincent Kuntz [B1] has been re-elected president of the board of Buffalo Reuse.

President: Gregory Ciupak Vice President : Robert J. Szustak Secretary : Shaun Doyle, Jr. Treasurer : Christopher Reybrouck

At West Seneca East High School, Scott Nykiel [T2] is chairing his 10 th high school reunion.

Board of Trustees : Timothy Mahiques Brett Ransom James Rigo Andrew Giarrizzo Cynthia Van Ness

The recent Lancaster Opera House production of Oklahoma featured Jaime Goldfuss [B2] as Slim and Tom Romans [T2] in the ensemble. Also in Lancaster, Realty USA awarded the 2012 Spirit award to David Campbell [T1] for best embodying the core values of the company. Travis Ballard [B1] has been working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to support candidates who are opposed to the NRA.

Accompanist: Debi Overton-Niles Archivist: Chuck Alaimo Artistic Director: Ciaran Krueger Music Librarian : William Gardner Newsletter: Cynthia Van Ness Ticket Sales: Susan Gruttadauria Webmaster: Jaime Goldfuss Mission Statement: The Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus is dedicated to producing vocal music of high quality in the rich tradition of men’s choral singing. We sing to create harmony as we celebrate pride in the community and in ourselves. We seek through song not only to entertain, but to enlighten.

Chorus box office manager Susan Gruttadauria is the proud new grandmother of Mario, born in January.

Mark Peszko [T2] helped curate the 125 th anniversary exhibit at Ascension Church on Amherst St. His family has belonged to Ascension since 1906.

Lastly, we are saddened to report that John Morrison [B1] has relocated to Houston. We miss you already, John!

51 Colonial Circle ■ Buffalo, NY 14222 ■ 716-883-1277 ■ ■ Page 5

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