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Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC records

Identifier: MS2230

Scope and Contents

This collection contains financial records, marketing material, recordings, photographs, meeting minutes, fundraising records, and production records that document the origination and on-going work of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC. These records date from 1980-2023.


  • 1980-2023

Conditions Governing Access

Documents containing personally identifying information about members not already identified in publicly available documents are restricted for a period of 75 years form date of creation. Documents with such restricted information have been placed into boxes with an "R" designation and sequestered from the public for the period specified above. As of the 2022 processing of Series 7, there are now "R" boxes in Series 1, 2, 3 and 7.

In the case of officers and other members who are publicly identified in tax fillings, press releases, incorporation documents, and other documents generated by the GMCW which have been released to or are available to the general public shall not be subject to this restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) is one of the area's most highly respected arts and community service organizations. It is also known as the Federal City Performing Arts Association (FCPAA). Its mission is to “entertain through excellent musical performance, to affirm the place of Gay people in society, and to educate about the Gay experience.” As of 2022, it has more than 250 "singing members," four select ensembles, one youth chorus, 500 donors, and an annual audience of over 10,000 (GMCW website). The Washington Post has called GMCW “one of the world's best male choruses.” (March 2001)

GMCW was established in 1981 after the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' historic national tour and performance at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Following that concert, a handful of committed citizens decided it was important that Washington also have a chorus that would use music and entertainment to create a positive and affirming experience for members and audiences, while educating the community about the Gay experience and advocating for equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. On September 23, 1981 they made their debut performance and held their first holiday performances in December 1981.

GMCW is at the forefront of the gay and lesbian choral movement. The Chorus has performed at a variety of venues throughout the Washington area including the Kennedy Center, the National Theatre, the Warner Theatre, Constitution Hall, the Lincoln Theatre, and Lisner Auditorium at the George Washington University. The Chorus has also performed at the White House, as well as toured internationally with concernts in Scandinvavia and Cuba. In 1996, they became the first gay choral group to perform during a presidental ingauration.

During its 20th anniversary season, GMCW performed at Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall in joint concerts with the New York City Gay Men's Chorus and the Boston Gay Men's Chorus. GMCW has also performed for the Kennedy Center Honors Program, first for Elizabeth Taylor and then for Jerry Herman.

In 2015, they founded the GenOUT Youth Chorus, which is the first LGBTQ+ youth chrous in the area. It currently includes over 25 area student members. In 2021, GMCW celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a streamed concert and restrospective (the program had to be held virtually due to the Covid-19 Pandemic).

GMCW also has a commitment to commissioning new works for men's chorus. GMCW has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Mayor's Arts Award for artistic excellence in 1989, a Distinguished Service Award from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance in 2003, and a Capital Pride Directors Award for Arts in 2005. The Chorus can be heard on a variety of recordings, including: Singing Free, Pride and Joy (nominated for both a WAMMIE and a GLAMMA award), Let It Shine!, And in That Moment, I Dream of a Time, You've Got to be Carefully Taught: The Songs of Sondheim and Hammerstein, with two-time Tony-Award nominee Laura Benanti, and Changing Hearts, our Silver Anniversary Album.

Updated and Adapted from the original note, 2022.


100 Linear Feet (Box number 106 was skipped and should not be considered in the total extent.)

Language of Materials



This collection contains financial records, marketing material, recordings, photographs, meeting minutes, fundraising records, and production records that document the work of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC. These records date from 1980-2018.


Organized in 8 series: Governance, Financial records, Marketing and development records, Productions, Audiovisual materials, Photographs, 2015 donation materials, and Website.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC in 2008. Additions were added in 2015, 2019, 2021 (Accessions 2015.037, 2019.026, and 2021.029).

Processing Information

During the 2022 processing of Series 7, it was discovered that many duplicate copies of production and marketing materials existed within and across folders. Weeding was done within folders for multiple copies of the same item. However, weeding was not done across folders to preserve the original placement and arrangement of materials. Thus, duplicate copies of the same items may appear in the same box or in different locations in a subseries.

Guide to the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC records, 1980-2023
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America