Groups like the Windy City Gay Chorus and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus cropped up in the early 80s after the death of Harvey Milk as outlets for social solidarity. But over the years–and apparently to their own surprise–a handful of them have evolved into excellent choirs, several cuts above college glee clubs and sometimes on par with the pros. Both the Chicago and New York groups are at the head of the class. The roster of the 80-member, all-male local contingent is sprinkled with alumni of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera choruses, and the director is Richard Garrin, former assistant to Margaret Hillis, longtime head of the chorus at the CSO. The 100-member New York choir, guided by Gary Miller, is equally good, with a repertoire that encompasses Broadway tunes and traditional hymns. At this joint affair, in honor of Gay Pride Week, a new cantata chronicling the effects of the AIDS epidemic will receive its midwest premiere. Written by UCLA prof Roger Bourland, the seven-part Hidden Legacies for male chorus, double bass, percussion, and four synthesizers is a crazy quilt of styles, from waltz to jazz to country and western, that perhaps reflects the diverse backgrounds of those who have encountered the traumas of coping. Its text, by John Hall, ends on a note of hope and faith. Also on the program are John David Earnest’s Jubilation for chorus and brass ensemble and David Conte’s Invocation and Dance. Saturday, 8:07 PM, Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash; 902-1500 or 404-9242.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Glenn Peterson, Steve Eykamp.