In 1995, partially as a means of addressing through music the loss of three members to AIDS in a six-month period, the Chorus undertook its most ambitious project since its inception; a concert featuring the seven-movement work Hidden Legacies by Roger Bourland and John Hall. That performance took place at the University Christian Church, a new venue for the Chorus, which in itself represented a breakthrough for the gay community. Next came Awakenings in the spring, then Romanovsky And Phillips in the fall, and Seasons Greetings for the holiday season.
In 1996, the Chorus traveled to the quadrennial GALA Choruses festival in Tampa, Florida, performing their commissioned work Time Holds Us Together by Elaine Broad. The spring concert was Rhythm And Rhyme. The highlight of the year was Feelin' Groovy! performed jointly with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles at the Spreckels Theatre, downtown San Diego. After spending the Pride weekend in Irvine, the Chorus finished the year in style with the holiday performance of Nutcracker: Men In Tights at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.
In 1997, the Chorus gave its first performance of Naked Man, a fifteen-movement piece commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Fall saw the Chorus performing Dancing Queen: Music of the 70s. The holiday season was made merrier with the Chorus' triumphant return to the Old Globe Theatre for its reprise of Nutcracker: Men In Tights.
In April 1998, the Chorus performed its second joint concert Swellegant Elegance: The Music of Cole Porter, in Portland, Oregon, with the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. A few weeks later, Portland came to San Diego for Mother's Day weekend for a repeat of the performance at the Lyceum Theater. There were no summer or fall concerts as the Chorus voted to hold workshops and classes to help singers improve their music skills. That year saw the first annual Pride concert, where all three San Diego GALA choruses, the San Diego Men's Chorus, the San Diego Women's Chorus, and the Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego performed together. The year was topped off by performances of the X-mas Files, a show featuring an orchestra and a guest soprano.
The beginning of 1999 found the Chorus once again rehearsing Naked Man, this time for a joint concert in Canada with the Vancouver Men's Chorus. Upon its return, the Chorus leapt into practicing ExtrABBAganza. The show took place at the Spreckels Theatre. After that show, rehearsals began for an August performance of A Rodgers And Hammerstein Songbook.
In 2000, the Chorus' first production was Family Matters, which featured the performance of Oliver Button is a Sissy at the Metropolitan Christian Church. The Pride concert, Ooh La La...He! was a joint venture with Melo Men, the gay chorus from Paris, France, and the Vancouver Men's Chorus, at the University Christian Church. That concert saw the departure of Gary Holt, a founding member of the Chorus and its Artistic Director since the beginning. Stephen Austin was introduced as the Interim Artistic Director. In December, under his direction, the Chorus performed A Christmas... Carol? at the Spreckels Theatre.
2002 was one of the busiest years for the Chorus. For its tenth anniversary, there was a lot planned. In January, with its biggest membership to date, rehearsals started for the recording of its first CD Our Own Kind of Music." The Chorus was also asked by the San Diego Opera to be the "ghost chorus" in Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. The five performances took place at the Civic Center in May and were a major accomplishment for the Chorus and an incredible experience for its members. In May, a portion of the Chorus went to Seattle for the first Western Regional Festival of GALA Choruses. Coming back from Seattle, the planning of the anniversary celebration started. The event, named Celebrate, took place at the El Cortez Hotel in downtown San Diego. The Chorus' new logo was unveiled that night. The joint Pride concert, Pride in Song, was once again at UCC. For the holidays, the Chorus performed Decembers We Remember at the Spreckels Theatre.
In 2003, the first show was Viva La Diva and included songs from Cher, Barbra Streisand, and Bette Midler. It was performed at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla. The summer production was On Broadway at the Spreckels Theatre and was a collection of songs from musicals that graced the stage of Broadway through the years. That show was also Stephen Austin's last as Artistic Director. The usual Pride venue, UCC, hosted Let Freedom Sing, performed with the SDMC, the SDWC and In aChord. Our Christmas production, Reel Tunes: Channeling the Holiday Spirit, was at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla. The Chorus performed for the first time under the baton of Adam Hemming, the guest artistic director. The show was a mix of movies and TV themes and holiday classics. The search for a permanent artistic director ended in November and Hemming was hired to fill the position.
After the previous chorus president decided against relinquishing the domain name gmcsd.org, in 2004 the chorus moved to a new website and domain gmcsd.com and a fresh spring production, That 60s Show. The performance took place at the Garfield Theatre, Jewish Community Center in La Jolla in April. As the show's title indicates, it was a journey through the music from the 1960s. Our summer concert was Summer of Sondheim and was at the Joan and Ray Kroc Center in July. The Chorus next went to Montreal, Canada, for a week of music and friendship at the seventh GALA Choruses International Festival. Our Pride concert, Unity, was held at University Christian Church jointly with the San Diego Men's Chorus and In aChord in July.
In 2005, the Chorus continued its adventures throughout Southern California. Under the Direction of Adam Hemming, the Chorus' small ensemble, Director's Cut, entertained at a post-performance reception as the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, welcomed by the comedy dance troupe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. GMCSD then headlined All Together Now: Broadway's Greatest Group Numbers along with other local soloists and ensembles in No Square Theatre's production, staged in Laguna Beach, California. The Chorus' springtime show, Broadway A to Z, thrilled audiences at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla with song, dance, comedy, costumes, guest artists, and plenty of surprises. Unfortunately, this also marked Adam Hemming's final performance with GMCSD as he headed east to make his own mark on Broadway.
GMCSD has kicked off 2006 with even more appearances throughout the region. In January the Chorus performed a free concert of audience favorites at Christ Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach as part of their Musical Mosaics series. Later in March, GMCSD teamed up with Diversionary Theatre for a presentation of the inaugural Trolley Follies, a gala evening of cabaret music sung by local luminaries who have graced the stage at Diversionary as well as soloists and an ensemble from the Chorus. This entertaining event held in University Heights grossed more than US$10,000 for two of our community's finest arts organizations. Also in March, the Chorus was invited to sing the national anthem during opening ceremonies for the San Diego American Flag Football League's spring season. GMCSD provided entertainment during the California Walk for Recovery, the proceeds of which are used to support prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services for men, women, children, and families in California. In April 2006, the Chorus presented two sold-out performances of its spring concert, Bang! Bang! The Music of Cher. Performing once again at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla, GMCSD entertained 1,000 audience members with a tribute to one of pop culture's most admired and enduring divas. These shows featured dancing accompaniment by members of the San Diego Ballet. In August the chorus performed a bilingual concert, An American in Paris at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest. The year ended with a sold out performance at the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla, the famous Nutcrucker Men in Tights.