Centene Center for the Arts resident Gateway Men’s Chorus (GMC) concludes their 34th annual season tonight with “Meant to Be” a virtual concert. We learned more about the concert and the trials and triumphs of the past year from GMC Executive Director Michael Franzoni. He has been with the chorus in some fashion since the 21st season when he discovered the group at St. Louis Pride. Since then, he’s been involved as a volunteer, serving on the board of directors, as a singer and more. He later joined the staff, and his role has evolved from the Operations Director to now Executive Director.

Like many arts organizations, COVID-19 was challenging for Gateway Men’s Chorus. There were limitations to meeting and performing in person that in turn required careful financial planning.

GMC was able to conserve financial resources by minimizing licensing fees. They accomplished this by performing works from public archives, that were available free of charge, and by composing several songs in-house.

“It created an intimacy to the singing, knowing that these songs were made for us and by us, and the world would hear them first through our lens,” shared Franzoni.

Gateway Men’s Chorus has been planning for the “Meant to Be” Concert for some time. Originally, they envisioned the concert in September 2020, but ultimately delayed to June. “It was a program we designed to be that breath of relief after coming out of the pandemic,” Franzoni said. He noted that the new timing made the concert more meaningful, “It allowed us to give the concert double meaning, tying it in with LGBTQIA+ pride season and bringing an additional resonance to the meanings of the songs that we programmed for the show.”

The concert includes a selection of uplifting and empowering music including songs like "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Born This Way" and "Everything Possible". This concert will conclude an entirely virtual season. Franzoni shared that while the singers could feel the final product of their virtual concerts, they’ve missed the community that comes from rehearsing and performing together. “The sense of community and team spirit wasn't present while they were making the music. We want to be singing together, and moreover, we want to be singing for our audiences.”

Tickets for “Meant to Be” are $15 and available at gmcstl.org/meant-to-be. Can't join Gateway Men’s Chorus tonight, June 30? Your ticket is good for up to 72 hours after the premiere date, so you can enjoy the concert at your leisure!

Gateway Men’s Chorus is a resident organization of the Centene Center for the Arts. The Centene Center for the Arts is home to arts organizations large and small that represent many different mediums of art. The incubator fosters a community of growth for St. Louis arts organizations by offering facilities and services they need from below-market rate office spaces to free rehearsal and event spaces to collaborative spaces for idea-sharing.

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