The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles might have a brand new dance track heading into the clubs, thanks to a one-off appearance at the Film Independent Spirit Awards that turned into a viral steamroller.
The iconic LGBTQ singing group showed up at the February 8 Spirit presentation to perform “Gay Spirit Song,” penned by lyricist Jordan Firstman and Greg O’Connor as a tribute to the year’s “gayest movies that you didn’t know were gay.” Accompanied by a hilarious video presentation that singled out “all things gay” in the movies of 2019, the song pointed up the gayness of such cinematic moments as “Idina Menzel in ‘Uncut Gems,’ J. Lo pole-dancing to Fiona Apple,” and “FKA Twigs talking about snakes” while paying special homage to actress and LGBTQ ally Laura Dern’s performance in “Marriage Story.” Dern, in the audience, was moved to laughter, and later posted on Twitter, “Did this…really happen? Thank you @GMCLA @filmindependent and @JTfirstman for making me realize how much I need a choir to go everywhere with me!”
A video of the performance went viral after being shared by the likes of the Hollywood Reporter, IFC, James Corden, and Dern herself, receiving over 7 million views online. Prompted by its success, GMCLA’s new Music Director and Conductor Ernest H. Harrison took thirty GMCLA members back into the studio to work with the song’s original composer O’Connor, lyricist and producer Firstman, and GMCLA member Quinn Coleman and the Perry Twins – known for some of the best dance tracks in clubs today – to create a brand new dance mix. The resulting track is a fundraiser for the organization, which has grown into a world-class performance and advocacy group since being founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay rights movement.
GMCLA Executive Director and Producer Lou Spisto commented, “This entire experience has been amazing. The response to the original video was both unexpected and unprecedented and now Greg, Quinn, and the Perry Twins have generously created this dance version to benefit GMCLA. At the heart of our success is always the members of the Chorus, who donated their time to perform at the Awards show and again on this track. We are grateful to all of the guys, and especially Dave Pannell, who brilliantly sang the part performed by the wonderful Alex Newell in the live show. Without the GMCLA members none of this is possible. I invite any of our 7 million new fans to our next concerts at Alex Theater in Glendale, where Ernest H. Harrison, our new Music Director, will take the main season podium and we will celebrate all things California.”
That show, “The California Sound,” will perform April 4 and 5 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, and features GMCLA’s 250 singers, dancers, and musicians in a celebration of California songs and songwriters, from classical to pop, spanning the decades. The program includes legendary songs from The Beach Boys, The Mamas and The Papas, The Byrds, The Turtles, Sonny & Cher and some of today’s artists including Billie Eilish. Also on the program is the male chorus world-premiere of “There Will Be Rest” and “Earth Song” by nationally-esteemed Los Angeles composer and USC professor Frank Ticheli, and the acclaimed work “I’ll Be On My Way” by Shawn Kirchner of Los Angeles Master Chorale.
No word yet on whether GMCLA plans to launch a new campaign to dominate the dance charts, but in the meantime, you can help them raise funds for their various outreach programs, like the Alive Music Project and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, by streaming the new dance mix here.
You can also watch the video of the original Spirit Awards performance below.