The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is popping up on social media again. Conveniently, just as it gears up for its latest season.
If you looked over on Reddit right now, one iconic video has resurfaced. On the subreddit/subforum called r/videos, the GMCLA’s performance of Rob Cantor’s “Shia LaBeouf” has returned to internet users’ consciousness. The post currently has 38.6k upvotes and 1.1k comments on the subreddit.
But what is this video? The 2014 video was a collaborative effort between the Gay Men’s Chorus and song creator/internet content creator Cantor. The song itself was originally the idea of Cantor who wanted to play with the ambiguous persona actor Shia LaBeouf had become around that time. Cantor did so with lyrics like, “Running for you life (from Shia LaBeouf), He’s brandishing a knife (It’s Shia LaBeouf), Lurking in the shadows, Hollywood superstar Shia LaBeouf.” He then made an original video before creating the bigger produced video found below.
But then, how did Cantor get Shia LaBeouf to join in with the video? As he explained to MTV during the time:
“I looked up Shia’s manager online and sent him an email. I explained that I was a fan, pitched the video concept, and invited Shia to participate. I knew Shia had heard the song, since he tweeted it out last Halloween, but it still seemed like a crazy long shot. I sent the email nonetheless. Three days later, unexpectedly, Shia’s manager replied with a yes. I was shocked and delighted.”
As for the Chorus, Cantor says it took “a lot of communicating.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever written more emails for a project than I did for this one. I recruited the groups one at a time, just emailing and pitching them the concept. I got really lucky that these amazing ensembles were into the idea — I didn’t have much of a budget, so it would have been impossible otherwise.”
And now that the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is back in our minds, we’re made conscious of the fact that their 2019/2020 season is coming up.
The Chorus is getting ready to put on a year of performances with songs from Mariah Carey, Queen, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, and more. What will begin with a December Holiday Spectacular will then transition into an April pop concert. Then in July, the chorus will give a tribute performance to music icon Freddie Mercury and other classic rock and opera divas. That last event will also include a fundraiser to benefit the GMCLA’s education programs.
“We are coming off an historic 40thseason of concerts that culminated in our sold-out gala concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and we had the extraordinary opportunity to perform over the summer at both Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl,” said Executive Director Lou Spisto. “The audience and community support we received during the anniversary season was overwhelming and has allowed us to end GMCLA’s fiscal year in a much stronger position.”
“Season 41 begins with a beloved Los Angeles holiday tradition: GMCLA’s annual Holiday Spectacular, conducted by interim Artistic Director Jenny Wong, who also serves as Associate Conductor of The LA Master Chorale. This show has really become part of the fabric of the holidays,“ said Spisto. “The spring concert will feature the classic pop harmonies of the California Sound, as well as the men’s chorus world premieres of two works by renowned composer Frank Ticheli. The season concludes with our gala concert, Queen/of the Night, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. This concert will pay tribute to the legendary band, Queen, and include some of modern opera’s greatest hits.”
“A new Music Director will be in place to lead the Chorus in the final two concerts,” he added.
Who knows what else the Chorus has planned for their 41st season. We look forward to finding out. Until then, we’ll rewatch that Shia LaBeouf video for the hundredth time.
Sources: MTV, GMCLA