411 Advisors: Bob Mensel

By  GALA Expert 

 November 30, 2023 



A photo of Bob Mensel on top of a close up photo of a bar of music on a page.

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by GALA Communications

On July 1st GALA Choruses proudly named the new 411 Advisors. The GALA 411 program builds upon the success of the Artistic Director-in-Residence position by including several additional areas of chorus management. The advisors include an Bob Mensel, Artistic Advisor; Eve Campbell, Board Development Advisor; Jeff Heine, Chorus Management Advisor; and Susan Haugh, Youth Chorus Advisor. The advisors will provide consulting services to member choruses. Over the next several weeks, we are excited to learn more about each of these new advisors through updates on the GALA blog.

Bob Mensel has devoted most of his career to the gay and lesbian choral movement. He has been the artistic director of the 165-voice Portland Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) for the past 20 years. His doctoral dissertation was on the creation, performance, and meaning of new works written for LGBT choruses. He has presented papers on the history of our choral movement to the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music. He proposed the genre designation “affinity music” for the unique body of repertoire that has been written for gay-allied choruses over the past 35 years. He has also championed the creation of new music within his own chorus. In 2000, he organized the creation of poetry by queer youth that eventually became “Millennium Mosaic” with music by David York. As a reaction to the Iraq war, he proposed a project called “The Peacemakers,” which eventually saw fruition as the acclaimed anti-war cantata “Brave Souls and Dreamers” by Robert Seeley and Robert Espindola. He is a protege of Barbara Conable, the founder of Body Mapping, an organization devoted to educating musicians on the anatomy and physiology of their bodies. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Utah. He holds a master’s degree in conducting and a Ph.D. in music history, both from the University of Oregon.

“I’m delighted and honored to have been asked to serve as the GALA 411 Artistic Advisor. I’ve sung with, accompanied, and conducted gay choruses for the past thirty years. I joined the Salt Lake Men’s Choir in 1983 and later served as their accompanist and then conductor. I have been the artistic director for the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus since 1993. Like many of my fellow conductors, I came to a gay chorus principally trained in classical music and learned programming in an academic setting. However, my three decades with gay choruses have transformed my perspective on the entire choral art, and I hope to be able to share the fruits of that transformation. Here are some areas where a consultation with GALA 411 Artistic Advisor might assist a GALA-affiliated chorus:

  • comprehensive, mission-oriented programming
  • vocal technique within a choral rehearsal
  • systemizing the audition process
  • incorporating multimedia, choreography, and theatrical elements into productions
  • membership and board relations
  • rehearsal and time management

I look forward to being of service to my GALA colleagues over the next two years.”

Bob Mensel
GALA Choruses, 411 Artistic Advisor