Orlando Gay Chorus announces new artistic director

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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O News OGC

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.

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Christian artist Ray Boltz discusses small town upbringing, coming out and his upcoming concert at Venice MCC

By : Krista DiTucci
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The Venice MCC certainly has a history worth celebrating. On Feb. 19, 1995, Rev. Sherry Kennedy founded the church after Venice and Port Charlotte residents faced increased difficulty in traveling to the Manatee County MCC every week. Rev. Kennedy helped organize the first meeting, at which 78 members were present—a denominational record.

Twenty years later, the congregation will celebrate a milestone with a weekend long celebration that includes a performance by out Christian performer Ray Boltz. on Saturday, Feb. 28.

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Melissa Manchester talks about her incredible career and the influence LGBTS have had on it

By : Stephen J. Miller
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It’s hard to pin Melissa Manchester’s style down—that’s what becomes immediately apparent in her newest album, You Gotta Love the Life. The Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter isn’t scared of shaking it up. With over four decades in the business, Manchester has embraced the new and crowd-funded her latest work, loaded with many musical styles.

“It’s about show business. The challenge is the key component of an artistic world. You’ve got to be okay with this version of normal—the unsteady, insane and unsure path. I am, and I’ve always been,” says Manchester, who’ll turn 64 on Feb. 15.

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Sam Smith is thankful for a broken heart

By : Staff Report
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Sam Smith has a lot for which to be thankful.

“I want to thank the man who this record is about,” Smith said Feb. 8 after receiving his fourth Grammy of the night.

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Bette Midler talks early LGBT support, ‘diva’ degradation, twerking and equal wig rights

By : Chris Azzopardi
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Before the whole world knew her as “The Divine Miss M,” Bette Milder was ours. In the early ’70s, bawdy, belt-y Bette was performing for the NYC bathhouse boys, and don’t think she’s forgotten it, either. “I mean, if I had a nickel for everybody that said they saw me at the baths,” says Midler in our recent interview, “I would be Joe Billionaire by now!”

Midler would go on to global fame, reaching beyond music to become a celebrated name in film, television and on the stage, winning Grammys, Golden Globes, Emmys and a special Tony Award. And in fall 2014, the eagerly awaited return of one of show business’s most versatile performers arrived with the release of her first album in eight years, It’s the Girls!, a tribute to some of the greatest female harmonies in history.

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Screened Out – Into the Woods

By : Stephen Miller
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Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Christine Baranski, Tracy Ulman, Lucy Punch, Tammy Blanchard, Mackenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen

If Stephen Sondheim’s famous, complex musical teaches anything, it’s to be careful what you wish for.

Sondheim fans have wanted a movie version of this show for a long time. Into the Woods gets the Disney treatment, with Chicago director Rob Marshall at the helm. It sounds like it could either be a fairy tale or a nightmare. It’s mostly successful – a charmer, with amazing performances, a lush score, rich lyrics, and a fantastical world. The actors seem to be having a blast, and many audiences will, too.

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Ty Herndon talks about being out and proud in country music

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Country singer Ty Herndon, who began topping the country music charts nearly 20 years ago, came out publicly as a gay man a week before Thanksgiving 2014. That’s something for which country music fans, gay and straight, can be thankful. A country chart-topper in the 1990s, Herndon’s hits include “What Matters Most,” “Living In A Moment,” “It Must Be Love” and “Loved Too Much,” to mention a few. Now an out and proud gay man, with a partner of five years named Matty, Herndon is one of the LGBT artists in Nashville working to make the country music capital a safe and productive place for out musicians and LGBT followers of the popular musical genre. We spoke with Ty about coming out, his career and more in late November 2014.

WATERMARK: It’s been about five days since your coming out story ran on People.com and you were discussed on CBS’s The Talk, CNN and interviewed on Entertainment Tonight. How has the experience been so far?
TY HERNDON: I feel so incredibly blessed. I have struggled with being gay my entire career and life. Of course, I’ve had so much support from my friends and close family that supported me, that knew I was gay. But it’s been so freeing for the fans to know; the fans in country music, especially. They have really been supportive and awesome. There are always going to be the naysayers and we’ve had a few of those. 99% of the feedback from the fans and in Nashville has been incredibly supportive. It’s blown my mind, to be honest with you. I feel extremely happy. And I feel extremely excited about the future because, really, at the end of the day I just want to be authentic and continue to make great music. That’s what I was what put on this planet to do, that’s my gift. I’m singing better than I ever have. There’s lots of music coming in the new year. That really makes me happy.

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Jo Dee Messina brings her career to Ybor Dec. 10

By : Zach Caruso
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Jo Dee Messina has taken her career into her own hands.

The country music star recently released her fifth studio album entitled ME, a project she completed without the help of a major label, and she is now hitting the road to tour in support of her latest offering and will be playing at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa on Dec. 10.

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Country crooners come out

By : Staff Report
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Country stars Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman are out of the closet.

Herdon went first, in interviews with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight. His revelation inspired Gilman to go public as well.

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Sheryl Crow concert at Dr. Phillips Arts Center

By : Danny Garcia
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More than 1,500 music lovers crowded downtown Orlando for the Nov. 8 Sheryl Crow concert, a free show  and the very first concert in the Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Mayor Buddy Dyer introduced Crow, who played for a little more than an hour.

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Elton John says Pope Francis is his ‘hero’ at AIDS event

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Elton John called Pope Francis “my hero” for his compassion and push to accept gays by the Roman Catholic Church, at his annual AIDS benefit.

John hosted the event, “An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Oct. 28 night in New York City. He said Francis is pushing boundaries in the church and told the crowd: “Make this man a saint now, OK?”

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‘Rent—In Concert’ is the newest offering from the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project

By : Aaron Alper
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Sarasota – Rent is a time-honored musical amongst the LGBT community. It’s a story of a group of impoverished young artists living in Alphabet City in NYC while living under the nightmare of the initial onslaught of AIDS. It’s the perfect musical for the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project to present Nov. 3 and 10 at Florida Studio Theatre.

Rather than being maudlin or prone of victimizing it’s gay characters (as many Hollywood movies are want to do) Rent imparted a message of hope amidst the decimation and that is probably the reason why it continues to be relevant more than 20 years after its debut.

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