MUSIC: Chanticleer

“Chanticleer”, an all male, choral ensemble is coming to our area & seems to be supported by a diocesan priest.
I had heard several years ago that “Chanticleer” was comprised of mostly homosexual singers & that they had an up front, pro-gay rights agenda.
I know they’ve appeared on NPR, etc. & are now considered mainstream performers but I doubt their agenda has changed.
Have they performed in connection with Catholic dioceses before?

hmmm… well, they performed at the Festival of Masses, a large choral festival held in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco. But that was in 1980 - I’m not sure about their recent history.

They were in our city a few years ago, presented in concert by our music club (the oldest continuous music club in the United States).

I didn’t go see them, but many of my friends did and raved about them.

The effect that I saw in our city after their concert was a huge upsurge of interest in male a cappella singing. Several high school groups formed, and several are still in existence. I heard one in the high school competition a few weeks ago.

Perhaps that’s why the priest is interested–he is hoping that the concert will create interest in cantoring, chant, male singing, etc.

My wife and I went to a concert of theirs here in California many years ago. Afterward they joined the audience for coffee and dessert. We had a half hour or so of pleasant conversation with one of the singers on their program and techniques [my wife is a choir director]. I am quite sure that nothing regarding homosexuality came up.

Of course things may have changed.

And it is news that a lot of these types of groups tend to have a certain significant element of gay men involved?

I don’t know whether Chanticleer has any sort of overt or undercover agendas. But I don’t think it ought to be surprising if a good number of their members are gay. Such would just be expected as the norm.

Now what makes you say that? Are you privy to this?

Ever hear of “Three Poofs and a Piano”? Barbershop/Acapella is big in the gay scene. Not sure why.

Again, I don’t know about the specific makeup of Chanticleer. But doesn’t EVERYBODY know that choral groups of this sort generally tend to have a significant percentage involvement of gay men? I mean, that is just the way it is. Anyone who has ever sung or takes music seriously understands and accepts this reality.

Yes, I understand that there are more than the average number of gay folks involved in the Arts & the purpose of my post wasn’t to question the leanings of every choral group member of every ensemble performing in the US.
This particular group, though, has been associated with gay rights in the past & possibly an all gay membership. I think Bob Jones University got into some hot water a while back after asking them to perform there.
Perhaps the ensemble has evolved into something else as it has mainstreamed. I don’t know.

It is ironic that much of the best religious art has (both historically and contemporaneously) been offered by people who wouldn’t be thought of as ideal devotionalists of the Catholic kind.

Please tell me that you had your tongue in your cheek while you were typing this.


I could be wrong, but I think he was serious. In which case he’s being very judgemental.


I really don’t know much about the members of Chanticleer, but I can say that in almost every group or opera company that I ever sang in highschool, college, church and outside secular groups, there was always a significant number of homosexual male singers (about half and half). I don’t know why that is, but that’s how it was. I think it may have something to do with the fact that unless heterosexual men are raised to appreciate the arts instead of the always doing “macho” things, or if they don’t worry about trying to be manly amongst their peers, they won’t have an interest in taking part of the arts. I remember as a kid that fine arts were always looked at as a “girly” thing to do for a boy. That’s not great encouragement for a heterosexual boy who might actually have an interest and a talent in this.

My husband and many other heterosexual male singers either had mentors who encouraged their love of the arts and classical sacred music or just fell into it by accident. My husband didn’t have the encouragement as a child, but he always loved classical music and the arts and it was natural for him to join the church choirs to help with the spread of good sacred music and chant.

One thing I can say about Chanticleer - they have one of the most BEAUTIFUL performances of Biebl’s “Ave Maria”. It’s so prayerful and gorgeous!!!

Chanticleer are amazing. I saw them years ago at a NPM convention in Pittsburgh. I don’t know how men can sing those high soprano notes.

They are called countertenors and they do it by singing in the head voice. :slight_smile:

That’s part of it, I think. But, perhaps, homosexuals are just more sensitive, by nature, to these sorts of things, also. At least, so it would seem.

There’s nothing judgemental about simply stating the obvious facts. It just is what it is.

Visiting their website, none of the member bios state what their sexual orientation is, but the musical director Joseph Jennings does direct the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus term themselves as made up of gay and gay-supportive men, and in the past has directed the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.

Well, I know how they *used * to hit those high notes…:frowning:

There was no mention of their sexual orientation when they came to my wife’s local university a few years ago. I took my wife and sons to their concert and my cathedral choir director and organist were in the audience as well as several other choir members. The concert was awesome - particularly in such an intimate setting.

Counter tenors? I don’t have full range but, indeed, I am perfectly capable of singing counter tenor (with no, ahem, modifications). We have two women in our choir who sing tenor. The vocal range of human beings extends across the spectrums.

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