Last year, Dennis McCracken became the director of the Salt Lake Men's Choir. He stepped into the shoes that Lane Cheney had worn the past 12 years. Although the choir has been singing for 25 years, the goals are still the same.
"When the choir first started, the goal was to offer male singers an outlet that wasn't barbershop and that was gay-friendly," said McCracken during an interview. "It started in the living room with eight guys. And now, if everyone is together in one room, we have at least 70 singers."
Obviously, said McCracken, one of the most difficult aspects of the choir's existence was finding acceptance.
"Twenty-five years ago the world was a different place," he said. "The tolerance level wasn't where it is today. We had difficulties trying to find venues in a time and place that wasn't 'out and about."'
However, the perseverance has paid off for the choir, said McCracken. "We have been able to see the choir being able to perform all over the country and even internationally. We've performed in Sydney, Australia, San Diego, Washington and Washington, D.C., to name a few places. That's not to mention all the performances we do around Utah.
"I would like us to eventually perform at the GALA Choruses Festival in Miami sometime soon. That is one of the things we haven't done yet."
Still, McCracken is proud of what the Salt Lake Men's Choir has accomplished in the past 25 years.
"We have become a place where we not only can gather and be accepted, but have also become a place where we can become better singers and members of the community."
To celebrate the quarter century of existence, the Salt Lake Men's Choir will present "Hooray for Hollywood," a concert featuring a medley called "Cinemagic," by Mark Hayes.
"That medley features 38 pieces of movie songs that span more than 90 years of Hollywood," said McCracken. "And we added nine more songs in the concert. So it is a big concert, a big celebration. And everyone is looking forward to it."It's funny how in a big artistic organization such as the choir, there are a lot of egos to manage, but that has gotten a lot better over the years. And we have a lot of years left in us. So anything is possible."
If you go . . .
What: Hooray for Hollywood, Salt Lake Men's Choir
Where: Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $15