Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles Produces Moving Anti-Bullying Music Video for "It Gets Better"
Date: October 29, 2010
Location: California, USA
The critically acclaimed Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) – a leading artistic force, staunch advocate of civil and human rights, and the first gay men’s choir to perform for a sitting president (Bill Clinton) – has harnessed the power of music to create a moving anti-bullying music video message featuring Cyndi Lauper’s inspiring anthem “True Colors” for the Internet’s “It Gets Better” project aimed at LGBT youth. More than 200 people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds from across the Southland – gay and straight – participated in the ambitious five-minute video, which was filmed in the gymnasium of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles and further establishes GMCLA as a leading force promoting equality and acceptance. The video can be viewed at both the It Gets Better and GMCLA websites: www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject and www.gmcla.org.
Posted only 2 days ago, the music video has already received more than 185,000 hits, making it the #1 non-profit activism video on You Tube, according to You Tube statistics.
“The music video” says GMCLA Executive Director Hywel Sims, “is designed to be a community response to send the message ‘It Gets Better’ – that everyone is wonderful just the way they are and that bullying must stop.” He notes that such a message is vital because many LGBT youth cannot image a future for themselves or picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. Among the thousands of individuals and organizations that have taped videos specifically for the site are President Barack Obama, the Democratic National Party, The Employees of Facebook, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, and such celebrities as Tim Gunn of “Project Runway’,” Vinny Guardagnino of “Jersey Shore,” and singers Jewel, Gloria Estefan and Adam Lambert.
The production team for the GMCLA video, all of whom volunteered their expertise for the project, included Brian Graden, former President of Programming at MTV, VH1, CMT and the LGBT channel Logo and named one of the most influential executives in reality programming; Emmy Award-winning producer/director Tim Atzinger; and John Lavin of Bloodrush Films. GMCLA members Bill Bowersock, a multi-gold and platinum award-wining songwriter, and Chris Verdugo produced the video message for GMCLA. Chorus members Bobby Buchanan conducted, Michael Alfera was accompanist, and Matthew Brown wrote the arrangement of “True Colors.” The two soloists who appear in the video are GMCLA members Chris Etscheid and David Werthe.
Long committed to educating youth about acceptance and tolerance, GMCLA, through its Alive Music Project (AMP), also presents the acclaimed “Harvey Milk Schools Project,” a live in-school music and spoken word performance developed by GMCLA that uses song to teach acceptance and equality to overcome prejudice. Presented to Southland high schools free of charge, the program actively promotes the reality that our community's struggle for equal rights is not only universal, but is also an issue that has and can affect any group of people who find themselves in the minority.
For 32 years the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has built an international reputation for musical excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the Los Angeles community and promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance though music. Critics call the choir “remarkable” and note “GMCLA truly shines.” It is one of the largest and most influential men's choirs in the nation and is the first gay men's choir to perform for a sitting president - William Jefferson Clinton. In March 2010, GMCLA became one of only a handful of organizations ever to perform in the California Assembly chamber in the state's capitol when they sang America the Beautiful and a rendition of “Brand New Day” from the Broadway musical The Wiz for the swearing-in ceremony for new Assembly Speaker John Perez, California's first openly gay Assembly Speaker. In addition to presenting concerts each season in Southern California at Glendale's Alex Theatre and elsewhere, GMCLA tours nationally and internationally. In 2006, the Choir toured Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, where it helped found South America's first LGBT Chorus. The 230-member choir has released 14 CDs to date, commissioned more than 300 new works and arrangements and appeared frequently on national television programs such as “Will & Grace” and “Six Feet Under.” The Chorus membership donates over 60,000 volunteer hours annually to make GMCLA's mission of musical excellence and community partnership a reality.