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E. JASON ARMSTRONG APPOINTED ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF LOS ANGELES

E. Jason Armstrong has been appointed Artistic Director of the acclaimed Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.
E. Jason Armstrong has been appointed artistic director of the acclaimed Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) following a nationwide search it was announced by Executive Director Thom Lynch. A long-time music educator and currently a doctoral candidate in choral music at USC’s Thornton School of Music, Armstrong will be responsible for all aspects of the chorus’ artistic vision, including planning programs, directing rehearsals, conducting concerts and overseeing the organization’s music outreach programs.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Jason to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles,†says Lynch. “His diverse musical background, stellar choral conducting skills and broad musical sensibilities will help the chorus strengthen its international reputation of excellence, reach new audiences and hone its message of tolerance through music.â€

Armstrong notes, “It is an honor to serve as artistic director of this outstanding men’s choir. I look forward to building upon its remarkable artistry and collaborating closely with the chorus members and staff.

During the 2011-12 Season, Armstrong conducts three programs in GMCLA’s concert series. GMCLA’s popular holiday concert, “Naughty & Nice,†December 17 and 18, 2011, at the Alex Theatre, features Grammy Award-winning recording artist Melissa Manchester, the GMCLA handbell choir, the Malibu Monks as well as some special surprises. “Mighty Pipes,†March 24 and 25, 2012, at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, will showcase Tony Award-winner Levi Kreis and the venue’s famed organ – the world’s largest church pipe organ – which will be spotlighted by a newly installed $250,000 theatrical lighting system. The season concludes June 23 and 24, 2012, at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills (formerly the Wilshire Theatre) with “Fade to Blue,†the chorus’ first-ever country music program headlined by contemporary country legend and double Grammy winner Leann Rimes, who has sold more then 37 million records worldwide.

In addition to its own concert series, among other GMCLA highlights this season, the chorus, prepared by Armstrong, joins a number of other prestigious LA-area choruses for the highly anticipated performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, “The Symphony of a Thousand,†under the direction of the LA Philharmonic’s esteemed conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, with the acclaimed Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela on February 4, 2012, at the Shrine Auditorium. GMCLA members, conducted by Armstrong, also set sail aboard the luxurious Crystal Serenity for Crystal Cruises’ inaugural Transcanal passage “Film and Theatre Experiences of Discovery†theme cruise through the Transcanal Passage April 21 to May 8, 2012. Following on the heels of its graveyard smash in July, GMCLA, in conjunction with Hollywood Forever, presents its second film sing-along on the Fairbanks Lawn of the historic cemetery (date TBA).

Armstrong is also deeply committed to strengthening GMCLA’s innovative Alive Music Project (AMP), a music education outreach program designed for high school students that brings members of the chorus into Los Angeles area schools and uses song to create a powerful anti-bullying message.

Originally from Altus, Oklahoma, Armstrong received his bachelor of music education degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a master of music degree in choral conducting from the Florida State University, where his principal conducting teachers were André Thomas and Rodney Eichenberger. Armstrong recently completed coursework for the doctor of musical arts degree in choral music at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he served as the conductor for the USC Thornton Apollo Men’s Chorus and as assistant conductor for the USC Thornton Concert Choir. His principal conducting teachers in Los Angeles have included Jo-Michael Scheibe, Nick Strimple, Larry Livingston, and Sharon Lavery. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Armstrong enjoyed a 15-year teaching career as director of choral activities at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida. During that time, he developed and maintained a highly successful and award-winning choral music program. In 2002, his program was recognized as a Music Demonstration School by the Florida State Department of Education. In addition to serving as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States, Armstrong, an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, has held the leadership positions of District Chairman of Florida Vocal Association, Florida State ACDA Treasurer, and Southern Division ACDA High School Honor Choir Coordinator.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has garnered international acclaim for artistic excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the Los Angeles community and beyond by promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance though music. Founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay civil rights movement, critics have proclaimed the chorus “inspired,†“expressive, innovative, and utterly moving,†and hailed it for presenting “meaningful entertainment.†It is one of the largest and most influential men’s choirs in the nation and is the first gay men’s chorus to perform for a sitting president – William Jefferson Clinton. The 230-member choir, which has toured nationally and internationally, has released 15 compact discs, commissioned more than 300 new works and arrangements and has guest starred on such TV shows as “$#*! My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner, “Will & Grace†and “Six Feet Under.†In October 2010, it produced an anti-bullying musical video message featuring Cyndi Lauper’s moving anthem “True Colors†for the “It Gets Better†project, quickly becoming a viral sensation that has received more than 500,000 hits to date. GMCLA, which performs at such venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Alex Theatre, and LA Theatre Center, presents several concerts each season in Los Angeles, including its popular annual holiday concert, which this past December featured country music legend LeAnn Rimes. Additionally, GMCLA has received accolades for its “Alive Music Project†(AMP), a unique music education outreach program designed for high school and college students that uses song to create a powerful anti-LGBT bullying message and also highlights the reality that our community’s struggle for equal rights is not only universal, but an issue that has and can affect any group of people who find themselves in the minority.

For more information on the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles: www.GMCLA.org.

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