Perfect Harmony Gay Men's ChorusPerfect Harmony Gay Men's Chorus - Madison, WI

History of Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus

Perfect Harmony Holiday Concert was performed at the First Unitarian Church in 1997. The program was a compilation of Christmas and Hanukkah songs from around the world arranged by Artistic Director Clay Jones. The success of Perfect Harmony was spreading within the community and in January of 1998, the chorus, now 30 voices strong, began preparing the concert that would announce the beginning of Gay Pride Week in Madison.

In the 1998 concert, Baroque to Bebop at First Baptist Church, Perfect Harmony drew its largest attendance to date. Member attendance was up and consistent. The commitment to quality singing and the camaraderie between chorus members was at an all-time high. However, after Baroque to Bebop, it became apparent that Artistic Director Clay Jones was not physically well. A week after the concert, Clay was hospitalized with complications due to AIDS. Despite the health issues, Clay rallied the chorus and began working tirelessly on the Perfect Harmony's biggest concert yet.

Performed in November 1998, Fun, Friends, and Favorites at Grace Episcopal Church included humorous songs, special guest musicians and singers, and some of the favorite songs of choir members that had not yet been performed in a concert setting. Once again, the concert was a great success and hailed as Perfect Harmony's best performance.

In 1999 after receiving an award from Act Up, Clay Jones began work on his greatest vision - the arrangement and compilation of an evening of music composed by Arthur Sullivan of the great operetta team Gilbert and Sullivan. Unfortunately, it became evident to chorus members that Clay had become too weak to conduct. A few days before the performance, Clay relinquished his baton into the hands of Ron Golner and Ken Forney, two members of the chorus. With great sadness by the choir members, Clay was hospitalized and was not present for the performance he so passionately envisioned conducting. On August 14, 1999, founding Artistic Director Clay Jones died quietly in his home.

The governing board and a handful of dedicated singers were determined to keep Clay's vision of a gay men's chorus alive. Ron and Ken assembled music and a group of sixteen singers and with the help of guest artist Mary Ray Worley prepared for a Holiday concert. In 1999, the Just a Little Christmas performance was performed at Grace Episcopal Church. A new conductor, Curtis Blomberg, became the new artistic director of Perfect Harmony with Ken Forney as the assistant conductor and music librarian.



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