COLORADO SPRINGS — The past two years haven't included much noise for the "Outloud Men's Chorus" in Colorado Springs.
"We’ve gone through a lot of changes," Frank Hall, President of the chorus council said, "“I think there were some people wondering if we would ever come back”.
Like many entertainment groups, Outloud took a pause because of the pandemic out of concern for the health of their members and audiences. Throughout the last couple of years the group has worked to return.
The group also had challenges finding a director, they're now on their third director since the pandemic began.
“There were so many false starts,” Hall said, "our season would roll around and the restrictions would start back up."
Two years later, Outloud is singing once again.
"It just feels right," Joey Young, Assistant Artistic Director said, "it's just so good to have some form of normalcy in the world right now."
The group not only provides a space for people to sing, it's a safe space for people in the LGBTQIA community not only in Colorado Springs, but for southern Colorado. Hall, for example travels from Pueblo, some members travel from as far as Rocky Ford.
"Community is a word that’s thrown around so much, and myself I never really understood what that was until I came to Outloud,” Hall said.
Outloud started in Colorado Springs in 2005, 17 years later it's grown from about seven to nine members to nearly 50.
Members of the group often share the story of the group's first concert at the First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs, which brought in a packed chapel and space to the downtown church.
"There’s so much loved among these gentlemen and the people that are in this room," Young said.
While many members identify as gay, lesbian, or transgender, it's not a requirement to join the chorus.
"It's just a place for people who love music to come together," Hall said.
Hall joined the group seven years ago in 2015, and has gained a sense of community through his time in the chorus.
"That first season I was with Outloud I spoke to three people I just remember thinking "oh I don’t belong," Hall said, but after the first performance he was hooked and has been a part of the group ever since.
After two years of silence, the group is also welcoming new members like Ethan Shafer.
"I’ve never been in an all men's chorus like this," Shafer, who moved to Colorado Springs about a year ago said, "that community outside of work was just so hard to get, it just wasn’t easy as I thought it would be."
Shafer moved to the springs after graduating from the University of Oregon. While in school he was a part of music groups while he studied an unrelated field- planning public policy and management.
When he moved to Colorado Springs he was looking to find a space for music and the queer community. He discovered Outloud through a simple search online.
“I was just really excited for the opportunity to get be around people, and sing with people and the best part getting to sing with other queer individuals,” Shafer said.
The group is currently rehearsing for its holiday concert scheduled for December 2nd and 4th. More details will be released on the group's website here: Outloud Colorado Springs Men's Chorus.
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