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Historic partnership: Disney and BGMC

Thursday Jun 16, 2022

Chad Weirick has been the Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director of the BGMC since 1993 (courtesy BGMC)
Chad Weirick has been the Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director of the BGMC since 1993 (courtesy BGMC)  

Disney PRIDE in Concert, performed by Boston Gay Men's Chorus, at Boston Symphony Hall, June 25-26. 617-542-SING or

Last year Boston Gay Men's Chorus music director Reuben M. Reynolds III announced that BGMC would present "Disney PRIDE in Concert " June 25-26, 2022 at Symphony Hall. The concert is slated to be "a musical celebration of LGBTQ life, love, family and perseverance." It will also reimagine Disney's song catalog. Reynolds III, speaking of the affinity between Disney characters and LGBTQ experiences, observed, "Characters are often struggling to fit in and to accept themselves." The Disney Concerts-BGMC collaboration represents the first time Disney Concerts has partnered with an organization to create an LGBTQ-specific concert. The 250-member BGMC and its 25-piece orchestra will perform new arrangements of Disney songs by assistant music director and pianist Chad Weirick.

Asked about his thoughts on the Disney movies, the concert and his preparation for it, Weirick reflected, "I'm a Disney fanboy. My first draft of Disney PRIDE in Concert was about 200 songs and a five-hour production. But I was pretty determined from day one that this was not going to be just about Disney movies. I wanted to encompass the entire company, including TV, movies, and the theme parks. I really wanted songs from every aspect of Disney because I think for most Disney fans, all those things are part of the Disney experience."

As for the arrangements, he explained, "All of the songs in this show have new arrangements for the chorus accompanied by an orchestra. The way I hung the show together is that from day one I pictured the show as a giant theme park and the experience of the audience is as if they were visiting Disney, but experiencing LGBTQ stories."

One of the arrangements about which Weirick feels very deeply is "It's a Small World." It's always annoyed me that people dismiss "It's a Small World" as just a stupid little kid song that gets stuck in your head. The first time I heard that song, I was like, but have you really listened to those words? Do you know the history of the song as an anti-war statement related to the Cuban missile crisis? In the show, the first moments of that song are sung acapella with no orchestra. It's just them. It's a big choral moment, and they slowly sing the first verse of "It's A Small World," with meaning and purpose to say, hey, it's a world of laughter, a world of tears, a world of hope and fears. But you know, there's one thing we share, it's a small world after all. It's such a powerful and universal message."

Weirick also stressed the uniqueness of the concert. "This is certainly a landmark in the LGBTQ+ choral world. In the end, the Boston Gay Men's Chorus had the pieces that broke through: the quality of musicianship, powerful storytelling, a track record of accomplishment, and the production capacity to stage this with a 25-piece orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall, one of the greatest in the world. Even though we only have a handful of paid staff and our chorus members are all volunteers, we rehearse and perform at a professional level. In the end, I think Disney understood that their material would be in good hands. They trusted us.