Singing for a crowd of more than 50 people on Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Ithaca, the Ithaca Gay Men’s Chorus showed how it has become a symbol of Ithaca for many of its patrons.
Belinda Howell, a frequent patron of the IGMC’s concerts, explained that the group’s affiliation with the LGBTQ+ community was a major reason she attended the group’s shows, saying she wants to continue supporting them.
Patrick Chaopricha, an usher for the Kitchen Theatre, agreed, citing Ithaca’s longstanding culture of acceptance as a reason for the success of the Gay Men’s Chorus.
“[Ithaca] is pretty open about gender acceptance,” Chaopricha said. “I guess, in a way, [the Chorus] is making a statement.”
Chaopricha added that regardless of any statement the chorus may or may not be making, he attended the shows because of the music.
“[IGMC] has its own identity,” Chaopricha said. “But it’s just a name to me.”
Katrina Mackey, a first-time patron of the concert, said she believed the name “Gay Men’s Chorus” was a unifying force for the group.
“It explains who they are and brings them together as a community,” she said.
As for their music, the IGMC is known for bringing humor and charm to its selections.
“I appreciate how they pick entertaining songs and enjoy making fun of themselves,” said Nina Chaopricha.
She was proven correct when the group walked down the church aisle dressed as nuns for their first song.
Founded in January 2009, the IGMC hopes to “unite, educate and inspire its audiences and members through high-quality choral music set for the male voice,” according to its Facebook page.
Howell said she was grateful to live in Ithaca, where she enjoys all types of music from a diverse group of people.
“Ithaca is a very progressive town,” Howell said. “I think we’re very open and supportive and I wish that people felt as comfortable in every part of the nation as they do here in Ithaca.”