In 1990, the nonprofit Crossroads Performing Arts, Inc. established the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus (IMC) as its first performance group. The goal of Crossroads Performing Arts was to develop LGBTQ musical ensembles (both vocal and instrumental) that would provide central Indiana audiences with high-caliber concerts, present the LGBTQ community in a positive light, promote a spirit of pride, and build bridges of understanding.

The Indianapolis Men's Chorus at the 2013 Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade.
Credit: Courtesy of NUVO, Indiana Historical Society

In March 1990, a steering committee, led by Jim Luce, began recruiting singers, and in August of that year, it hired the IMC’s first artistic director, Michael Hayden. Rehearsals began in October, and the group first sang in public on December 16, 1990, performing a holiday concert at All Saints Episcopal Church. The IMC made its formal debut at the Madam Walker Theater on June 8, 1991.

As the LGBTQ rights movement became more visible in the 1990s and early 2000s, the IMC (along with the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus, another Crossroads Performing Arts group founded in 1994) became ambassadors for the cause. IMC first performed at Indianapolis’ Pride Festival in the summer of 1991, facing down dozens of protestors as it sang the national anthem. It continued its outreach through its regular concert series, usually presenting four to eight shows annually.

The Indianapolis Men's Chorus performed for the Indy Pride festival in 1992.
Credit: Mark A. Lee LGBT Photo Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Over the years, the IMC has performed alongside local groups such as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and the Indianapolis Opera, and it has toured to cities throughout the Midwest.

In 2015, the IMC spun off from Crossroads Performing Arts and began operating as an independent nonprofit organization. While no longer exclusively a gay men’s chorus, most of its 70-plus volunteer singers identify as members of the LGBTQ community, and it still has a similar mission to “entertain, educate, and promote inclusive community through musical excellence.” Under the direction of Greg Sanders since 2011, the IMC has seen a resurgence, performing an array of genres, including classical, Broadway, standards, spirituals, and world music.

Revised July 2021
 

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