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Gay Men’s Chorus director stepping down

25-year vet Buhrman will depart in July



Jeff Buhrman, Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, gay news, Washington Blade
Jeff Buhrman, Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, gay news, Washington Blade

Jeff Buhrman (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Jeff Buhrman is going out with a bang — his final show with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, where he’s been artistic director for the last 13 years and involved with for more than 25, will be “A Gay Man’s Guide to Broadway” at the Kennedy Center in May.

The Chorus announced his impending departure last week. He will remain artistic director emeritus through the end of 2014. A search committee has just formed to find his successor, which, in a perfect world, they’d like to have in place by summer, though they’re not rushing.

“We’ll see how it goes,” says Chase Maggiano, in his first year as the Chorus’s executive director. “We could imagine having an interim director if we feel the need to, but we’ll see.”

It’s a time of significant change for the Chorus. Maggiano succeeded David Jobin last year. Emery Grant, former director of marketing and communications, also left last year. Long-time choreographer Craig Cipollini has been doing more marketing work in recent months. The Chorus, whose membership varies between about 225 and 250 singers, employs four full-time employees and two part time. It has an annual operating budget of about $1.1 million. It’s in its 33rd season.

Everyone involved says Buhrman will leave big shoes to fill.

“I heard the Chorus several times back in the ‘80s and ‘90s and then went through a period between about 2000 and 2007 where I didn’t,” says Mark Hegedus, a member since 2008. “I heard them again in 2007 and was really blown away by the musicality of the ensemble. That’s what convinced me to audition. I could just really hear how much improvement there had been under Jeff Buhrman’s leadership.”

“I have only worked with him a short time but he and I get along really well,” Magianno says. “He has a strong personal connection with the singers and has kept the music at a really high level. He’s definitely set the bar very high.”

Thea Kano, a straight ally and the Chorus’s associate music director (she also directs the Rock Creek Singers, a smaller ensemble of GMCW singers), says she and Buhrman have enjoyed “an absolute partnership.”

“We’ve joked since day one we must have been separated at birth,” Kano says. “Our priorities at any given rehearsal may be slightly different — his number one might be my number three or something — but at the end of the day we’ve always had the same vision and it’s been a phenomenal partnership. … I’m not sure how rare that is, but it’s definitely been a gift.”

The only person not saying much about the decision is Burhman himself. When reached by phone, he asked for time to consider how he wanted to answer questions then did not return follow-up calls. A press release issued by the Chorus last week did not address Burhman’s reasons for stepping down.

“I think maybe he and his husband, Roger, want to try some different things,” Hegedus says. “I certainly get that.”

Maggiano says it’s a good time for the Chorus to think about where it wants to go next. The Chorus has always seen itself as advocates for LGBT rights — simply a group that spreads its message in musical ways.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations … about what it might be like to expand our direction and really be a voice of equality for all communities,” he says. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be any less gay. But being gay is not a big deal anymore in a place like Washington so I could imagine ways we could play that up more and have fun with it. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

Jeff Buhrman, Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, gay news, Washington Blade

Jeff Buhrman (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)


Music & Concerts

New dance single pays tribute to Town Danceboutique

Local musicians pen ‘Town’ in honor of shuttered club



Bryce Bowyn (Photo by Clarissa Villondo)

The closing of the LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique in the summer of 2017 was heartbreaking to local musician Bryce Bowyn. He and his Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter friend Lexie Martin decided to honor its legacy in their new single, “Town.”

For Bowyn, who moved to the District about a decade ago to attend school at American University, the memories he has from Town Danceboutique are endless. And when it closed, it was a massive loss to Bowyn and many others. 

“It was such a cool space,” Bowyn said. “It was just disappointing to see a place that brought so many people together become part of the landscape again.” The building Town Danceboutique used to be housed in is now home to upscale apartments and a CVS. 

Town Danceboutique was a formative place for Bowyn and Martin, and it was Bowyn’s first experience in an open and accepting LGBTQ environment. His favorite memories at the club were always on Halloween, he said. Patrons, including Bowyn, would go all out with their costumes to look their very best. 

Bowyn and Martin met while they were both in the musical theater program at American University. Despite their years-long friendship, “Town” is the first song they have written together. They sat down over FaceTime and got to work. It was Martin’s idea to pay homage to Town Danceboutique, and the song follows the story of pre-gaming, going out, and hitting the dance floor. 

But the single also serves as a hype song for going out in any city, at any place. 

“It was important to me for the song to remain relatable and accessible,” Bowyn said. “So the whole foundation of the chorus, ‘Let’s go to town,’ can either mean Town Danceboutique, or painting the town red and having the night of your life.”

Bowyn started writing and producing his own music in 2018. He released an EP titled “A Rosy Retrospect” in 2022, and most recently released a single “A Bridge Burned Down” in June. His music is inspired by late 2000s pop and ‘80s synthpop, influenced by stars like Madonna and Charli XCX. Lexie Martin released her self-titled EP in 2019 and most recently came out with her single “SUPERPOWER” in 2021. 

Bowyn has been a lifelong pop music enthusiast. He distinctly remembers watching Britney Spears perform “Oops!…I Did It Again” at the MTV Video Music Awards when he was a kid and thinking “That was what I wanted and what I was set to do in life.”

“My heart was always with pop music,” Bowyn said. 

“Town” is available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

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Music & Concerts

From Monáe to Madonna, fall will rock in D.C.

Local venues hosting array of queer artists in coming months



Madonna’s delayed tour is slated to hit D.C. Dec. 18 and 19. (Screen capture via YouTube)

The D.C. area has many LGBTQ musical acts to look forward to this fall. Starting with pansexual and nonbinary actor and R&B singer Janelle Monáe, performing at the Anthem on Sept. 24-25 with ticket prices ranging from $135 to $301 on StubHub.

Janelle Monáe comes to the Anthem later this month. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Singer Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth Tour” is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 26-27. Tickets are available on StubHub starting at $324.

On Sept. 28 the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore will see lesbian pop artist SZA’s “SOS Tour” with tickets starting at $165 on Ticketmaster. 

Queer indie pop singer Ashnikko is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 29 to perform their “Weedkiller Tour.” Tickets available on StubHub range from $49 to $279.

Coming to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., is the All Things Go Festival. Performing are lesbian singers Tegan and Sara, alt-pop singer Lana Del Rey, pop singer Carly Rae Jepson, and more. The festival will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with two day passes starting at $397 on SeatGeek.  

Rock band Queen will perform “The Rhapsody Tour” at the CFG Bank Arena along with Adam Lambert on Oct. 4-5. Tickets are starting at $181 on Ticketmaster. 

Pop star and trans woman Kim Petras’ “Feed the Beast World Tour” will reach the Anthem on Oct 12. Tickets range from $72 to $817 on StubHub. 

Kim Petras brings the ‘Feed the Beast World Tour’ to the Anthem in October. (Photo by Thom Kerr)

Queer pop singer Kesha is coming to the Anthem on Oct. 29 to support her new album, “Gag Order.” Tickets go from $86 to $261 on Event Ticket Center. 

Queer pop rapper Shygirl is co-headlining with bisexual singer Tinashe for the “Nymph” tour at the Anthem on Nov. 5. Tickets range from $45 to $145 on Ticketmaster.

Indie band Men I Trust is performing at Echostage on Nov. 15. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for $30. 

Nonbinary rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s “PINK TAPE TOUR” will be at the Anthem on Nov. 21. Tickets start at $90 on StubHub. 

Doja Cat’s “The Scarlett Tour” will reach Capital One Arena on Nov. 27. Tickets start at $100 on Ticketmaster. 

Madonna will bring her highly anticipated and delayed “The Celebration Tour” to the Capital One Arena Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster starting at $110.

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Music & Concerts

Tom Goss to perform at Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend

Out singer entertains at the Sands Hotel



Tom Goss (Photo by Dusti Cunningham)

Out singer Tom Goss will perform at the Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Sands Hotel. 

He will sing his memorable songs like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Bears,” as well as tracks from his new album, “Remember What It Feels Like,” where he sings about being a 42-year-old gay man still reeling from his husband’s infidelity who was recently conned by a lover with a secret life now serving time in prison. 

Tickets to Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend start at $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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