Orlando Gay Chorus announces new artistic director

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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James Rode

Orlando – James Rode is the new artistic director and conductor of Orlando Gay Chorus.

OGC celebrates 25 years this year and Rode is ready to take on this new challenge.

“It’s exciting and a new adventure to kind of jump on,” Rode said.

OGC’s President of the Board of Directors Karl Haglund made the announcement Feb. 16.

“Starting our next 25 years under the direction of James A. Rode ensures that the Orlando Gay Chorus can continue to change images and attitudes about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities,” Haglund said in a press release.

Rode said he will focus on new recruits—particularly sopranos and altos—to grow the chorus, increased partnerships with local arts organizations and performing at bigger events and venues around town.

“OGC has a big mission to be at COWP and sing there, and sing for Hope & Help and sing for World AIDS Day and they were on the steps of Town Hall when they legalized marriage,” Rode said. “We are there to provide musical support for a lot of LGBT events and we also do a lot of charity work.”

Rode is currently the choral/vocal director at Celebration High School in Osceola County, where he also teaches choir, advanced piano and AP Music Theory. He has previously worked as the assistant director for the Timber Creek Chorale, an intergenerational choir, accompanist and interim director of the Celebration Community Choir, and the choral/piano teacher at Timber Creek High School. He has also performed with the Florida Opera Theatre.

“The people [in OGC] are not all gay; we bring all types of people in,” Rode said. “We get straight people, gay people and transgender, and it’s just an open door type of community for people to feel safe and welcomed here in Orlando.”

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