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According to choir director Charles Kurchinski, the April 22 debut performance of Out Loud, Colorado Springs' first gay male choir, was, in short, fabulous.

"I have to find the right adjectives here," he says. "It's difficult, unless you were there, to describe it. It was a trip."

The chorus began rehearsing last fall, after a few friends gathered to sing for fun. Soon, Out Loud was a 23-member group holding rehearsals once or twice a week.

Their April recital at the First Congregational Church (20 E. St. Vrain St.) hinted at a new era for Colorado Springs, a city known nationwide for its, ahem, less-than-gay-friendly politics.

The polarization that began over a decade ago, when a group based in Colorado Springs wrote a constitutional amendment banning any protected status for gays, has given the Springs an uptight reputation. Amendment 2, which passed in 1992, was overturned four years later, but Kurchinski thinks the lingering stigma may be why Out Loud has received attention from both local and national press.

On the night of the performance, he admits, tensions were a bit high. Out Loud informed the Colorado Springs Police Department of the show just in case.

"We weren't really afraid, but there was definite wondering," Kurchinski says. "To my knowledge, there weren't any protesters outside."

Any potential for violence, however, couldn't keep fans away. The church, which comfortably holds about 450 people, was packed. More than 800 made an appearance, with overflowing listeners standing outside.

Out Loud chose Broadway standards for their first concert. The Rev. Benjamin Broadbent, in his introduction of the group, even joked that the choir would be doing something "very risky for a group of gay men." A pregnant pause followed. "They'll be singing show tunes."

Out Loud's first concert also marked the group's induction into GALA (The Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses), which boasts over 100 choirs worldwide. In the meantime, the local group is looking toward a second performance sometime in early June.

"[The concert] exceeded expectations in every way, from the attendance, to the energy, to the love and support," says Kurchinski. "We want to show that we're building community through music. We have gifts to offer, just like everybody else."

In town: Gretchen Wagner, Adam's Mountain Caf (110A Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs), May 11 and 12; Me & Julio, FAC Modern Jazz Bistro (121 S. Tejon St.), May 12; Benjamin Pratt, Kinfolks (950 Manitou Ave.), May 13.

Go north: George Clinton & the P-Funk Allstars, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, May 13; Devil Driver, Gothic Theatre, Englewood, May 14; Gomez, Fox Theatre, Boulder, May 16.

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