Our History

 

New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus …
The Untold Story of a Granite State Treasure

Spring 2017 Concert Series

Founded in 1998, the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus (NHGMC) has an amazing, endearing history of triumphs and struggles, good times and bad. Through it all, the Chorus has delivered high-quality entertainment and musical joy to thousands of people all over the state. Despite overcoming fears and doubts in its early years, when acceptance of gay people in New Hampshire was scarce, NHGMC has blossomed into rapidly growing professional musical and community-service organization in high demand. 

What is the NHGMC? 

Now in its 20th Anniversary year, NHGMC is a popular, talented, not-for-profit musical group that performs two concert series per year — a Holiday series in December and a Spring series in May — in at least four New Hampshire cities.

The Chorus also gives many Outreach performances throughout the year at assisted living centers, at Interfaith services, for civic groups, and at Pride events. In recent years, the Chorus has received greater publicity, performing on national and local television.

Today, unlike its early years, the Chorus is in high demand, respected, and loved more than ever. The Chorus has received written Proclamations from New Hampshire governors and the mayors of New Hampshire cities.

Performing at Fenway Park – June 2017

Every year, the Chorus sings the National Anthem to open the New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball game in Manchester. And for the first time in its history, on June 9, 2017, NHGMC sang the National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park – the first gay men’s chorus to sing at Fenway!

In 2004, the Chorus made history when it traveled to Walt Disney World in Florida to perform there as the first openly gay choral group. The trip coincided with its popular Spring 2004 concert series, Disney Spectacular.  NHGMC has also partnered with other orchestras and choruses to enrich the New Hampshire arts community.

Performing at Disney World, 2004

Each year, as a community service, NHGMC provides a student scholarship to a New Hampshire high school senior planning a career in the Performing Arts. The Chorus is an IRS 501(c)3 not-for-profit group.

Founding and early years

The untold story of NHGMC is an endearing New Hampshire success story and dream come true.

NHGMC began in late 1997 as a twinkle in the eyes of three men who loved music — Richard Bojko, David R. Snelson, and the late David Swart — following a Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) holiday concert that Snelson and Swart attended in Boston.

As told by one of the original singers, charter signers, and board officers, the late Chuck Hill:  “These three men had the original dream. After that Boston concert, they said, ‘Gee, why can’t New Hampshire do something like that? It’s time!’ Then they told their friends. The word spread. That’s how I found out about it,” says Hill. “The chorus got going through word of mouth more than anything else. They put out the call to the community, found a director, an accompanist, a place to rehearse, and several men eager to sing. So the founders said, ‘Let’s get this act together, let’s find a place to rehearse and perform and bring our singers there.’ They approached Father Jerry Stretch at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Manchester for rehearsal space. He was a big supporter. Earlier in his life, Father Jerry had also been a bartender at Stonewall Inn in New York.”

Officially born on June 8, 1998

The men assembled and began rehearsing as a choral group in April, 1998. That same spring, a state charter declaring the chorus a nonprofit corporation and signed by several chartering members, was filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Thus on June 8, 1998, the Manchester Performing Arts Association (MPAA), doing business as the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, was officially born!

Under their first music director, Rodney F. Mansfield, and first accompanist, Gary MacDonald, the Chorus’s first performance became an informal program sung for the second New Hampshire Pride festival at Manchester’s Veterans Park on a scorching hot first day of summer – June 20, 1998. The first group of singers sang in the park, along with Mansfield and MacDonald with a portable keyboard.  The singers were met with cheers but also, sadly, some heckling.

An avid theater and music lover, performer, and career educator, Mansfield had served as director of the Barnstormers Men’s Chorus for fourteen years. He had also founded the Greeley Singers of Pelham and the Mischaum Choral Society in Woburn, Massachusetts. With his exemplary qualifications, Mansfield quickly established NHGMC’s standard of choral excellence.

First Performance, Veterans Park, Manchester
June 20, 1998

“Rodney had been an excellent, accomplished choral director already. His choruses sang at ham and bean suppers and community events,” says Hill, whom Mansfield seems to have drafted as a singer. “I didn’t start out as a singer. I started out on the support staff because I just didn’t think I’d be able to sing. I hadn’t sung since high school. So for the first two rehearsal weeks, I’m sitting in the church sanctuary watching these guys singing, while Rodney occasionally turned around to look at me. By the third week, he comes marching up the aisle and says, ‘Excuse me, who are you?’ I said, ‘I’m a support person,’ and he said, ‘No you’re not! You’re a baritone, so get your ass up there now! We’re not selling tickets yet!’”

Snelson and Swart sang as tenors. Snelson also served as NHGMC’s first president, and Bojko as first treasurer, on its first Board of Directors.

Jim Bretz

In ‘98, the founders also reached out to Jim Bretz, a high-profile leader in the New Hampshire gay community. Bretz, a baritone, member of the first board and successor to Snelson as president, helped organize the fledgling new Manchester Performing Arts Association in the early years, giving the Chorus its first exposure in New Hampshire. And Bretz had quite the resume! In addition to his successful career in health and human services, Bretz had founded and organized a plethora of New Hampshire groups, including the Minotaur’s Brotherhood Club, the New Hampshire Political Coalition of Lesbians and Gays, the Gay Couples Support Group, Dignity New Hampshire, the Young People Support Group, Out and Proud Men’s Group, and New Hampshire Naturally. He was instrumental in getting MPAA to host and sponsor a gala for the Diversity 2000 Leadership Awards — also known as the Lambda awards — honoring contributions to New Hampshire’s LBGT community.

Swart, Mansfield, Bretz, and Chuck Hill have sadly since passed away, but they live on in memoriam.

Hill, beloved by his NHGMC family, died suddenly on November 15, 2012, just a few short weeks after he gave the Board of Directors his Chorus scrapbooks and photos and provided personal tales for the anniversary storybook, in preparation for NHGMC’s 15th anniversary year. At the time of his death, Hill was immediate past president and Chorus photographer. He had also handcrafted, at his own expense, festive boutonnieres for the men to wear on their tux lapels each concert season.

“In the beginning we were very fortunate to have the support of Father Jerry at St. Andrew’s,” says Bojko. “He was really a tremendous supporter of the Chorus. He was very proud of it, and he would let his congregation know. He got up in front of our audiences and referred to us as his ‘boys.’ He was such a great guy.” After a few years, the Chorus made a decision to relocate its rehearsals to another church.

Gary MacDonald

In the spring of ’98, Father Jerry asked MacDonald to be the Chorus’s accompanist. “Father Jerry knew me well because I had rebuilt and reinstalled the organ donated to St. Andrew’s,” says MacDonald. “They had originally asked the church choir organist there at the time, but he declined, so then Father Jerry approached me, and I agreed and volunteered. The rehearsal space was actually donated because the Chorus didn’t have any money back then. They had a shoestring budget! They didn’t compensate me or Rodney, simply because they didn’t have the money. Rodney and I had known each other a few years prior to that. I had played for his Greeley Singers.” MacDonald, in addition to his business career, had cultivated a music career, playing and refurbishing organs. Originally from Vermont, MacDonald started playing piano in the second grade. He went to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and during his 45 years as an accompanist, he’s played for many church choirs in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Today, he’s an organist for the choir at St. Patrick’s Church, Nashua.

“The first year we were all getting organized,” says MacDonald. “We were out there trying to lure anybody and everybody. We didn’t have auditions back then, not even tryouts. We were just trying to open it up to those interested in singing. Rod listened to their voices, but there was no formal audition. Rod even brought in his partner, Bob Halle, to sing as a baritone. Rod was a very good director. He could be very laid back, but also very demanding when he needed to be. But he was a very nice guy. He had so much experience. He treated me very well, and we got along famously. Rod pretty much picked out the music. He did a lot of standards. He had experience with four-part male choirs. He had quite a library, and we used a lot of that because we didn’t have a budget to buy music. He brought in many pieces from the Barnstormers.”

Talented first tenor, Steve Valido, is the only remaining original singing member. When Valido and accompanist MacDonald met in April of ’98, they not only shared their love of music and musical talents but also fell in love – becoming partners in a relationship that continues today. Says MacDonald, “I met Steve when I arrived as accompanist. Steve was living in Lawrence at the time and needed transportation to and from Manchester rehearsals. Rod picked him up a number of times, and there was some carpooling for a while. Sometimes Steve even took the bus up there. He made a huge effort to get up there for rehearsals. I started helping him out and taking him home from rehearsals. We hit it off right away. I was very attracted to him and I loved his voice!”

In September, 1998, the men began rehearsing NHGMC’s first official concert program – A Holiday Fedstival.

Mansfield and MacDonald served for three years, producing four concert series:  A Holiday Festival, Singing Out with Pride, Sounds of the Yuletide, and Bits of Broadway. The chorus actually performed the Spring 2000 concert series, Bits of Broadway, together with the Pioneer Valley Men’s Chorus of Northampton, Massachusetts. In the program, the Pioneer Valley chorus sang a set of songs, NHGMC sang a set of songs, and then the two choruses teamed up to sing one song together — one performance in Northampton and one at Christ Episcopal Church, Portsmouth.

Luc Andre Roberge and Gary Finger
10th anniversary concert

In September, 2000, Mansfield and MacDonald were succeeded by the Chorus’s current artistic director, Luc Andre Roberge, and current principal accompanist, Gary Finger. Roberge and Finger were already singers in the Chorus. Roberge had joined as a very talented bass in September, ’98. Finger became hooked after he joined as a baritone in January, 2000, with his boyfriend at the time, Rick Carkin.

Mansfield passed away in May, 2011, at age 80. He was fondly eulogized with a memorial written in the concert program for the Winter 2011 series, Peace.  Mansfield’s biography also appeared in the Crystal Jubilee concert series programs — Winter 2012 series, Colors of Winter, and Spring 2013 series, We Got That Swing!

MacDonald recalled that transition: “Before they looked at Luc Roberge as a replacement for Rod, they interviewed a few director candidates, but I wasn’t overly impressed with them. Some of them were real hot shots! Overall, I thought it would be a good time to bow out as accompanist. At the time, I didn’t know they would ask Luc, and I didn’t really know about Luc and his directing skills. But I can tell you that Luc has been a very fine director! I didn’t know Gary Finger well, either, though we’ve become good friends since. He’s a great player and very talented. And he’s also a very nice guy.”

An incredibly accomplished accompanist himself, Finger, who started playing piano in the fifth grade, married Carkin on 10-10-10 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, taking advantage of New Hampshire’s new same-gender marriage law. The Chorus sang several beautiful songs for the couple at their wedding ceremony. Finger grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from North Texas State University, Denton, with a Music degree in Performance.

NHGMC organized various fundraising events, most occurring in the early years. In 1999, for example, Bojko, a very successful New England antique dealer, helped the Chorus host an Antique Roadshow and Appraisal Day in Manchester. Bojko and his partner, John Mullen – also a support staff member with Bojko back then – are proprietors of Parker-French Antique Center of Northwood. In 2004, NHGMC organized a performance in Derry to benefit the Chorus, starring nationally known stand-up comic and comedic actor, Ant!

But what was the chorus really like during those first few years? It may have been a dream come true but according to Bojko, it wasn’t exactly a Norman Rockwell existence. The fledgling young musical group was struggling for survival, organizationally as well as financially, says Bojko, and characterized by loud, raucous disagreements between “member factions” over the future direction of the group. “There was some serious fracturing and plenty of drama. But I think that’s the nature of organizations when they first get started.”

It took a while, but fortunately and eventually the new group moved through its raucous beginnings. “Jim Bretz tried to keep the peace, tried to bring everyone together. He tried to emphasize the social aspects of the Chorus,” Bojko added. “Jim also really tried hard to bring us more visibility. Hence he got MPAA to sponsor the Diversity awards, and I do believe it brought the chorus a lot of visibility in the gay community. Officially, MPAA was the sponsor, and NHGMC sang at it as guest performers. Back then, some of us envisioned MPAA becoming a focal point in the gay community, bringing all the different factions and groups together. Jim wanted to do that, and he had the connections to do that, but sadly he passed away.”

MacDonald agreed that some angst characterized the early years – that it was anything but a portrait of serenity. “During those years, the chorus was made up of a good bunch of guys. But in the beginning, some of the attitudes weren’t quite, shall we say, as calm as they are now!”

MacDonald added, “David Snelson and Dave Swart were very nice guys. David Snelson put so much of his heart and soul into the chorus. He offered some good leadership as one of the founders. At the beginning, they didn’t have a formal board of directors, so he was heading things up as best he could. Dave Swart had a good attitude. He was big helper in practically everything, and he worked really well with the guys … They were a dedicated bunch of guys. We had quite a few of them commuting, like Steve, to Manchester from great distances.”

In addition to believing it was time for New Hampshire to have its own gay men’s chorus, the founders created NHGMC, Bojko says, “because we were also looking for a social outlet.” Bojko stayed as a member for about three years. “Before the Chorus was founded, we had kind of a brunch club that used to meet. Dave Snelson and Chuck Hill and some of the guys were part of that. So the chorus was also to become a vehicle for social interaction.”

“In the beginning it was difficult recruiting men,” continued Bojko. “I was not a singer. I was strictly a support person, and I volunteered to be treasurer and cultivate our not-for-profit status. I was the money man, I guess. We knew we’d have to go out and solicit funds and ask for contributions. At first, we didn’t want to use NHGMC as our name because, back then, we thought it could have been an issue. With the word gay in the title, we were concerned that no one would want to give us money. That’s one of the reasons we called it the Manchester Performing Arts Association. But we also wanted an umbrella organization to develop different groups, a women’s singing group, a mixed group, all under that umbrella. Around 2000, we did once start to organize a women’s group, but it was unfortunately a failure. It never got off the ground due to lack of interest … I actually did alright raising money. From that antique road show and appraisal day that we organized, we made $1068! We considered that a lot of money!”

By all accounts, despite the drama and hardships of the early years, NHGMC has successfully fulfilled all three goals of its mission statement:  To present quality entertainment, provide an opportunity for wholesome social interaction for members, and present a positive image of the gay community in New Hampshire.

Family, brotherhood, and camaraderie

If you ask Chorus members today, they’ll tell you they’re not just casual friends who happen to sing. They consider themselves a family. They’re brothers. The close camaraderie from rehearsing, performing, sharing a love of music, and socializing throughout most of the year has spawned lifelong friendships. Says Tim Dullea, who joined as a baritone in 2003: “At this point, for me, singing is a formality. The friendships I’ve developed in this group over the past ten years – and I get all emotional when I say this – are so special. Everybody is just really special. People come and go, but there’s a core that sticks around. I love the group and love the guys so much. I just want us all to succeed. I want the group to be there in the future. I want other men to have the same great experiences that I’ve been fortunate to have.”

Marc Perreault, who joined as a bass in 2000 and has served on the board in a few positions over the years, echoed Dullea’s sentiments about the Chorus’s closely knit family: “I instantly fell in love with the great camaraderie among all the members. Our chorus family and the camaraderie have always been a constant. It’s always been there for me. Friends are family that you choose for yourself, and I truly believe I have a family with the Chorus. I count each one of those relationships as precious. To see all the thousands of people who we’ve touched — that’s something to be very proud of. There have been so many relationships built on a love of music. Our music has enriched so many lives.”

Overcoming fears and doubts

Ameriprise financial adviser, Maureen Dastous, has helped the chorus a great deal via her business acumen and her connections to the New Hampshire arts and financial communities.  She served for several years as a Board member until 2012.  She says she was eager to work for NHGMC after the guys dazzled her at the first concert she attended.  It became love at first sight.  Says Dastous,  “Once I heard them, I loved them!  I couldn’t get over them!  It’s been one of the joys of my life!”  Dastous, a straight woman with three successful grown children, added:  “I’ve always been gay-friendly.  I sometimes think, ‘How brave to stand up under the banner, New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus.’  Even now people ask me, ‘Why do they have to call themselves that?’ and I say, ‘Why shouldn’t they?!’ It’s an organization for singing and socializing for a bunch of gay guys!  So now I go around saying, ‘Yay!  NHGMC!’”

Various members of gay men’s choruses across the country have likely heard the subtle don’t-ask-don’t-tell question:  “Why do they call themselves a ‘gay men’s chorus’ and not a ‘men’s chorus’?”  Even now, some people may still believe it’s better for gay people to conceal their orientations when they serve in our armed forces, perform on stage, compete in sports, or simply do their jobs in their places of employment.  But the American GMC experience, now more than 35 years old, has reinforced one truism about art and music ― that a work of art is intertwined with and becomes an extension of the artist.  Thus GMC singers have historically performed with empathy for their common experiences, expressing their unique perspective as gay men and telling their stories through music.  Though most of NHGMC’s music is not “gay themed,” each concert program typically includes at least one gay-themed song or a few gay-themed lyrics.

Past president of the Board of Directors, Peter Olesen Lund, believes music is the universal glue that binds us. Says Lund, who joined in 2002 as a support staff member: “I have found that music is a point of commonality with people, and I appreciate and am aware that the Chorus can be a point of commonality for audiences who may or may not be comfortable with an orientation other than straight. I see the Chorus as important in creating that point of common ground. I see the music as a point of transcendence for any discomfort that people may have with different orientations …”

In the spring of 1998, when the Chorus filed itself as a legal New Hampshire nonprofit group, there was some initial hesitation among original members to sign the document, according to Hill.  The original signers of the state charter were Bojko, Snelson, Bretz, Hill, and baritone Richard Rafferty, who had also served on the board.

Chuck Hill

Says Hill, “I was scared to death to sign that thing!  The others were also reluctant to sign it with the name, New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus.  I didn’t want the government to know.  I was also scared I’d lose my job.  I even deliberately wore dark glasses at our Pride performance in ’98!  I was afraid that people from my job would see me.  You have to remember this was fifteen years ago.  A lot of things have changed.  In those days, we’d go to bars down in Boston, had no problem dancing in the streets there, but were very cautious up here.” 

Thus the group used the umbrella name, Manchester Performing Arts Association.

“Finally I said, to hell with it, I’ll sign it.  The others did as well.  We thought it would be easy to do, but it wasn’t,” says Hill.  “We wondered, ‘Where is this paper going to go?  Up to the state?  What is the state going to do with it?’”

Bojko also spoke of the hesitation:  “You know, 1998 was not that long ago, but it was a world of difference when it came to acceptance of gay people in New Hampshire ― that is, with the exception of the Seacoast area.  Yes, there was a hesitation about blowing off the closet door hinges and then asking for money and for grants as a non-profit group, and sure, we thought the name, New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, might have a negative connotation.  Yes, there was some reluctance.  When you sign your name to a document, you sometimes don’t know the ramifications.  One of us was a social worker for the state.  One of us was a teacher.  There was some concern.  Today, would you want to sign your name to an official document that officially declares you as gay?  I don’t know.  But back then, under the umbrella MPAA name, there was much less reluctance.”

Chadwick family – Sean, Sarah, Wes, and Sue
December, 2013

Interestingly enough, NHGMC welcomes gay or “gay friendly” adult men over the age of 18 as singers, as well as women on its board and support staff.  Over the years, there have been several straight singers in the chorus.  In fact, the group has a father/son singing combo ― baritone Sean Chadwick and his bass father, Wes Chadwick, who both joined in 2005.  Sean is gay; Wes is straight and married to yet another chorus mom ― and chorus wife ― Sue Chadwick. And Sean’s sister, Soprano Sarah Chadwick, became a smash-hit as NHGMC’s first female guest soloist in the Winter 2013 concert series, A Rose in Winter

Though they have their orientations in common, NHGMC members are far from monolithic.  They represent a cross section of New Hampshire.  They come from all walks of life and from all over the Granite State ― and even a few from Maine and Massachusetts. 

Says Hill, “In the beginning, I don’t think we could’ve posted member names or biographies on the web. Guys would have been reluctant, just as there was serious concern about photo releases back in the beginning.  For a long time, we had a few guys who did not want their names in the program and did not want their names released under any circumstances.  In 1998, we also likely couldn’t have sung the national anthem at baseball games because we would’ve been heckled.  Obviously, times have changed.  And it’s so great now that people realize we are fathers and brothers and sons and husbands and grandfathers, that we come from all different walks of life.  That song we recorded for our fifth anniversary, ‘Color Out of Colorado’ ― we used to get standing ovations for that because it rang so true.  The lyrics ask the audience to look at us and realize who we are.  We’re your DJ.  We’re your car salesman.  We’re your plumber.  We’re your mailman.  We’re your bank teller.  We’re your news announcer.”

“We’ve opened doors that people thought would never open for New Hampshire,” Hill continued.  “Like in 2004, singing at Disney World!  Think about it.  We were the first openly gay group actually allowed to sing inside the park!  Until then, everyone else had been singing outside the gate!  We have proven that we are a serious, high-quality musical group, that we don’t sashay down the street in high heels, swinging boas and pearls. Though we do have breakout soloists and ensembles that do the campy thing for a song here and there, we’ve never worn it on our sleeves…”

That big bold sound

“We’ve always had a masculine, bold sound and energy,” Hill continued.  And the Chorus has always been proud of that sound and its high-quality choral arrangements in four-part TTBB harmony that it belts out for audiences all over New Hampshire and beyond.

The Chorus regularly gets complimented on that big bold sound.  Says Perreault, “What’s unique about NHGMC is that we have such a small membership, but with a very big and beautiful sound!”  Perhaps Carol Dullea said it best:  “They have always had great voices and great performances.  It never ceases to amaze me.  Just before the first number of every concert, you see a relatively small number of men ― and then they blow you out of your seats with the power of their performance!  I love it!”

No, they are not nearly as large or as well-known as their musical brothers of the legendary Boston Gay Men’s Chorus or other big-name choruses across the country.  But notwithstanding the small size of the chorus — ranging between 20 and 30 members over the years — the men of NHGMC have taken comfort in being known for knocking their audience’s socks off with their signature professional big bold sound.

“Any time new people see us perform, it seems they’re overwhelmed by how good we really are,” says Tim Dullea. “They thought we’d be good, but they’re usually just amazed beyond expectations of just how good … If you ask anybody in Massachusetts, they’ve probably heard of the BGMC. But if you ask anyone off the street in New Hampshire if they’ve heard of us, they’d probably be clueless.”

Sometimes called the “best kept musical secret in New Hampshire,” the Chorus has struggled over the years to win exposure and name recognition with the general public.

Overcoming controversy

To commemorate the Chorus’s 15th Crystal Jubilee anniversary and long history of service to the people of New Hampshire, both Governor John Lynch and Governor Maggie Hassan bestowed upon NHGMC a Governor’s Commendation, declaring a New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus Day in the State of New Hampshire.  Governor Lynch’s commendation was read at the Colors of Winter Crystal Jubilee concerts in December, 2012.  Governor Hassan’s commendation was read at the We Got That Swing! Crystal Jubilee concerts in May, 2013. NHGMC also received written proclamations from the mayors of Portsmouth, Nashua, Manchester, and Concord.

In the distant past, however, seeking anniversary proclamations from New Hampshire public officials became a bit of a struggle. In 2003, for its 5th anniversary, NHGMC reached out to Mr. Lynch’s predecessor, Governor Craig Benson, in hopes of receiving a written commendation for NHGMC for their Spring 2003 concert series, Take Five.  After Mr. Benson’s office reportedly had no intention of issuing any written recognition, due to his reluctance to recognize by name a gay organization, his office finally agreed, but only after it received inquiries from The Concord Monitor, which at the time ran a major story on the controversy.  And instead of a commendation, Governor Benson offered a more lackluster citation.  But his citation never once mentioned the name, New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus.  Instead, it cited the Manchester Performing Arts Association, though the chorus said it had asked for recognition of NHGMC, not the MPAA.  At the time, then state representative and minority whip, Ray Buckley (D-Manchester) told the Monitor:  “It’s not the MPAA anniversary.  It’s the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, and that’s the way the citation should read.”  Even the way the citation itself was delivered became controversial.  As the Monitor reported it:  “In another unconventional twist, an apparent representative of Benson’s office delivered the original citation to [chorus representative Micheil] MacCutcheon’s apartment complex by hand … The citation was not in an envelope and did not include any additional correspondence, according to MacCutcheon.  He said the man drove away without identifying himself or speaking to MacCutcheon.”

By contrast that same year, Manchester Mayor Robert A. Baines drew up an elaborate proclamation for NHGMC’s fifth anniversary ― some say in part because of Governor Benson’s reticence ― that declared April 27, 2003, as “New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus Day” in the City of Manchester.