Our History

The Chorus began in 1998, when three gay men from All Souls Cathedral decided that a gay chorus was vital to the community. Together, Will Jones, David Hopes and Jack Parsons organized a new chorus led by Dr. David Friddle that became known as Cantaria-The Gay Men’s Chorus of Asheville. The first public performance was at an interfaith healing service for World AIDS Day. During that first year the Chorus continued to perform, including appearances at the UNCA Gay Studies conference and shows for North Carolina Pride 1998.
  • In 2000, the Chorus was honored to be included in the prestigious ‘Choral Artist Series’, where the ‘Injustice-Conflict-Memorial’ was presented to great acclaim.
  • In 2002, the Chorus traveled to Cincinnati to be part of the GALA Eastern Regional Festival. Since then the Chorus has sung at all GALA conferences. From Miami to Denver, the Chorus is proud to be included in the GALA festivities where we can showcase our small-town talent, learn from other choruses and embrace the many singers from around the world.

Since those early days, the Chorus has joined with a variety of musical and other organizations, including the Asheville Lyric Opera and Asheville Choral Society.  Working with the local AIDS organization, local colleges, Pride celebrations and the PULSE memorial, the Chorus strives to build a stronger community. Whether it be a wedding, a memorial, or a performance for the regional Buncombe County Democratic Women, the Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus remains committed to offering excellence in musical performance and serving as ambassadors for our LGBTQ community.

On June 16, 2018 we celebrated our 20th anniversary with an emotional performance. The evening opened with the reading of a proclamation from the Mayor of Asheville honoring our 20 years of service to the community. Our first Artistic Director, Dr. David Friddle, conducted the opening number, ‘A New Victory’, which he had written, and which the Chorus had performed in the early years. Members from the past joined the Chorus onstage for a performance of ‘Stout Hearted Men’ and a champagne celebration ended the milestone evening.

At the same time, we unveiled some new changes for our future. Under the direction of our Board of Directors, and with involvement from the Chorus membership, we began using the name “Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus” to better reflect our commitment to our community roots. A new name, a new logo, and a new web site, but the same great excellence brings us into this next decade of song.