Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles: Spreading love and acceptance through music for 45 years

For 21 years, Lucio Maramba has been performing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA), and each performance brings a rush of adrenaline as the curtain goes up and he sees the audience for the first time.

"It never gets old," said Maramba. "You can feel them through the vibrations of the music and just the heart and soul that we’re pouring into the music – it’s a feeling like no other."

Maramba joined GMCLA in 2003, where he felt he found his LA community, and met his now-husband, Bob. Together, they have been part of the chorus’s efforts to promote acceptance and hope through the Alive Music Project, which connects with middle and high school students across Southern California.

"It’s very important for us to continue to go out into the community to represent our community and to create a safe space for everybody to be their true authentic self," said Maramba. Reflecting on his own experiences growing up as a first-generation Filipino-American, he added, "Having a gay chorus come to my high school and bring their music and their stories would have been life-changing for me."

Lou Spisto, Executive Director and Producer of GMCLA, emphasized that the group’s mission goes beyond performing. "Part of us is about the art and the singing and having great shows; and part of us is standing up for who we are and our community, and serving, and giving back," said Spisto.

The chorus has evolved significantly since its inception in 1979, when 99 men gathered in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park and later marched for gay rights in Washington D.C. Today, the group’s 180-plus members continue to advocate for broader freedoms and self-expression.

"If you haven’t been to one of our concerts or one of these kinds of concerts, you don’t know what it is until you’re there," said Spisto. "It’s part music, it’s part theatre, it’s part dance – it’s all emotion."

GMCLA rehearses weekly in Koreatown and performs for large audiences, including notable appearances on FOX 11’s Good Day LA and the Film Independent Spirit Awards. As Pride Month culminates, the chorus is gearing up for a concert in Pasadena that promises to be a showstopper.

"We’re at this crossroad of how America sees itself and how America sees different communities," Spisto noted. "Harmonizing is coming together in harmony – bringing people together in harmony, making joyful noise that you can only make as a group."

The benefits of music and singing extend beyond the performances. "It’s so good for mental health," said Spisto. "In addition to speaking our truth and singing our truth, it really can help people live better lives."

Thomas Franklin, a 20-year GMCLA member, echoed this sentiment. "It’s given me family and purpose, and I’ve been able to give back to the community. It means a lot to me."

As the GMCLA prepares for its June 30th concert "Solid Gold," Spisto remains confident in the chorus’s impact. "They are incredible, and they give so much to the audience – and the audience gives so much to them – it’s a two-way street."

To get tickets to Solid Gold, go to