Musical brand

GMCW channels optimism with “Brand New Day”

The Washington Gay Men’s Choir — Photo: Michael Key

“I want Diana Ross running down the street with me, asking everyone, ‘Can’t you feel it? Can’t you feel a brand new day?’”

Yes, Solomon HaileSelassie is indeed a big fan of The genius. “It’s one of my favorite movies ever made,” he says. “And I can even talk to you about it at length… because I know everything about The genius. I know more than I can bear.

HaileSelassie isn’t just dreaming of taking to the streets to sing with Ms Ross – this time. Right now, he wants to share the gift of song to send a post-pandemic message of hope to his community and especially his newfound family.

“The song ‘A Brand New Day,'” he explains, “is sung by people who have been freed from slavery wondering, ‘Can’t you feel it? Can’t you feel a whole new day? It’s not only ‘Can you?’ His, ‘I can not can you feel it?… Don’t you feel how different things are, how much better things are? Even if it’s shitty right now, it’s still a little better. It’s a nice way to hang out, if we’re really hanging out, COVID.

This optimistic message will be delivered by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington next weekend as part of a concert honoring chosen or found families. Such groupings are often made up of “people from diverse backgrounds, people whose identities don’t match,” says HaileSelassie, the show’s director.

“And as a gay man with a strained or nonexistent relationship with the family I was born into, I’ve spent my life in the art finding family. Your family isn’t just the people who raised are the people you found in your bubble. These are the people you play with on stage. These are your pets, these are your colleagues, these are the people you have had to support over the years. last two years as the world stopped and we tried to start it again.

In addition to “A Brand New Day,” which also serves as the show’s title, HaileSelassie’s musical selections come from a wide variety of sources, going beyond the expected musical numbers and pop songs to include those performed. in Spanish and Korean, as well as English. . “I’ve included pieces that are not just secular, but have a religious background, a background in Native American culture.”

All of the organization’s vocal ensembles and its GenOUT Youth Chorus will perform in the concert, which will also feature new dances from the 17th Street Dance troupe. Special guest Linthicum-Blackhorse, Native American composer and wielder of the Lakhóta pipe, will lead a performance of a traditional Sioux Lakhóta spiritual.

Haile Selassie summarizes new day as “moving and strangely inspiring” – in the sense of being something that will inspire you and give you hope as a kind of “balm in uncertain times”. “It’s a great exploration of what family means to us as an organization and to us as people.”

The Gay Men’s Chorus Performs new day Saturday, March 12, 3 and 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets cost between $25 and $65. Call 202-888-0050 or visit