The Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus proclaims ‘Holly Lujah’

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With great excitement and anticipation the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus is preparing for its first live and in-person concert since before the pandemic.

The RGMC will present “Holly Lujah” on December 4 at 7:30 p.m. and December 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester. Artistic Director Wilson Southerland discussed the upcoming performances Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“Have we got a fantastic concert for you coming up,” said Southerland. “It’s a way to celebrate with friends and family in person! Last year we did this virtually. I live hosted a virtual event. It is so great to be back. The Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, live, on the stage of Hochstein Performance Hall.”

Southerland explained The RGMC began rehearsals for “Holly Lujah” on September 9 — some 546 days after its last in-person rehearsal because of COVID. “I will admit, I used to think people who started singing Christmas songs, or playing Christmas music in even November was too soon,” he said. “But, I have to say now, we’ve been singing this for a couple of months, and I love every single rehearsal.”

The name for the show — “Holly Lujah” — draws inspiration from multiple songs. “The title – “Holly Lujah” is indeed a little mashup of sorts,” noted Southerland. “Hallelujah, the word, is a song of adoration, of praise, and of gratitude. And this concert is an expression of gratitude to our patrons and our audience. We have songs that are fittingly called ‘Hallelujah.’ For instance, Leonard Cohen’s iconic ‘Hallelujah.’ Randall Thompson, a classical composer, his setting of tenor/bass ‘Hallelujah.’ And, probably the most famous ‘Hallelujah’ of all, Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. Well, the Holly part also plays into Christmas time, right? For ‘Holly Lujah’ we have Hollywood Christmas hits like ‘We Need a Little Christmas’ from ‘Mame,’ ‘Believe’ from ‘Polar Express,’ and ‘White Christmas.’ We also have a couple of funny tunes thrown in there. I’ll save those for the stage. We have ‘Text Me A Merry Christmas.’ ‘I saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.’ You know the other version. You have NOT heard this version, I bet. And a smattering of other fantastic performances. The Rochettes are back with a couple of numbers. There will be some surprise music, some four-hand, 20 finger piano duets, Christmas and holiday music. And we are excited to do all of this again in front of a live audience for the first time in so, so long.”

Get your tickets now and learn more about COVID protocols online at, or on the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus Facebook page where you’ll find the promo code “FBHolley” for $5 off of your ticket.

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