By: Al Ballesteros

The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills was host to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’ Hooray for Holidays show that was held December 16 & 17, 2023. Full of Hollywood glitter, the show attracted a sold-out crowd and the Chorus gave attendees even more reason to celebrate the season with love and old song made famous in films and TV shows.

Hooray for Holidays was adapted from “Hooray for Hollywood” from the film Hollywood Hotel with new lyrics by Edwin Bacher, original lyrics by Johnny Mercer; music by Richard A. Whiting, and Sharon Udoh. The show was brought to life by Lou Spisto, Executive Director and Producer and Ernest H. Harrison, Music Director & Conductor. Special Guest Artists were Wayne Brady and Ilysia Pierce.

Songs performed by the Chorus included the The Chipmunk Song, Mr. Snow Miser, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Little Saint Nick, White Christmas and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

“It was an amazing event and quite spectacular,” says Dr. Jerry Abraham a community physician and member of the Board of Directors. “I feel when people think of Christmas concerts they may associate these with a religious-type event. This concert by the Gay Men’s Chorus was actually very fun and we all felt very together, like a religious experience without the religion. It was just a room full of people that were enjoying the season and the music. There was also this great Encore song called Joyful, Joyful that was featured in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit based on “Ode To Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Adelante: Was there a difference in this venue vs. The Alex Theatre?
Dr. Abraham: Oh yes. This one is very intimate and smaller, but seats a lot of folks, it feels a little more intimate; you don’t feel too far, no matter where you are siting.

Adelante: What should people know about the Gay Men’s Chorus?
Dr. Abraham: That it’s work is still very important and we have a long way to go. When one talks about diversity and inclusion, I believe places like the Gay Men’s Chorus are trying to bring in Black and Latino voices. It is a really important community and safe space the Chorus has created.
It’s also a home. I feel for many of the singers the Chorus is their family. There are many gay men who are not married and/or do not have kids and may be estranged from their family. I feel like the Chorus provides many a home. Every time I go to a gay men’s chorus event, I feel like I’m at home.

Adelante: Are there plans for the chorus to perform in South Central or East Los Angeles?
Dr. Abraham: Definitely. The Chorus participates with local schools and helps teach students about singing and music. This is a big part of the volunteer work the members do when they are not holding concerts. They work with all school levels, engaging students in the power of music.

“The Chorus is seeking additional ways to collaborate with the community. Imagine if the Chorus were to perform at Club Tempo and did some songs with the Mariachis. They are open and receptive to those types of ideas for community involvement.”

“I’m always pushing the envelope. I feel my role on the board is to bring those kind of ideas. It’s important to be able to sing. We want music to be in all spaces, just like health has to be in all places.”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles under the leadership of Executive Director and Producer Lou Spisto and Music Director & Conductor Ernest H. Harrison, is in its 45th year of music and service. GMCLA continues to garner acclaim for artistic excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the Los Angeles community and beyond by promoting civil rights, tolerance, and acceptance through music. Founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay rights movement, GMCLA spreads its message of love and acceptance with concerts across the globe and has raised its collective voice in the movement toward equality, social justice, the fight against the AIDS crisis, the fight for marriage equality and all those seeking to find their own voice. GMCLA’s free community concert program has provided access to concerts to tens of thousands over the decades, and its research-based education programs have served over 85,000 young people throughout the Los Angeles region. In June 2023, GMCLA returned to Walt Disney Concert Hall to perform the extraordinary multi-media Disney Pride in Concert to two sold-out houses as the finale of Season 44, which also included I’m with Her, a celebration of boundary breaking women in music, as well as the bellowed and sold-out holiday production, A Motown Holiday. In recent years, GMCLA has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl (with Hugh Jackman). Reaching global audiences, a GMCLA appearance at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards has gained more than 7 million online views.

If you’d like to get involved with the gay men’s chorus, visit their website at