More than 11 years after her death at age 48, singer Whitney Houston is still celebrated worldwide as an icon, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) is honoring the singer in the upcoming concert “Whitney” on March 11 and 12 at Lincoln Theatre. This concert is the second in GMCW’s tributes to iconic female singers. The first featured the music of Judy Garland last fall and there will be a third concert in June with the songs of Dolly Parton.
As one of the best-selling music artists of all time, Houston promised publicly to “always be a friend to the gay community.” She has been widely seen as an LGBTQ+ icon. Songs that will be performed cover many of Houston’s hits, including “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “How Will I Know,” “I Will Always Love You” and “The Greatest Love of All.”
Tenor Joval Martin joined GMCW in 2006. For the “Whitney” concert, he is scheduled to perform “Run To You,” featured in “The Bodyguard,” the 1992 movie starring Houston.
“I think it was really a coincidence, with choosing Whitney with these celebrations at the same time,” Martin said, who is from the Hampton Roads, Va. area. “There is a balance of inclusivity in thinking about these women.”
The artist’s love of Houston began when he was a child.
“She is my vocal hero. I grew up watching MTV and singing into a hairbrush or comb. My mother said I could sing before I could talk,” said Martin. “I went to a small church and did solos there. I had a teacher who suggested that I go to the Governor’s School for the Arts. My musical range was from singing Christian Pop to classical music.”
Martin’s vocal training includes studying classical voice at the Virginia Governor’s School and becoming a chorus member of the Virginia Opera at the age of 17, performing classics like “Othello” and Puccini’s “Turandot.”
Members of GMCW had to audition for the solos to be performed during “Whitney.” During the concert, audiences can expect to hear diverse vocal ranges performing favorite songs from Houston’s repertoire.
Since 1981, the Chorus has performed locally, nationally, and internationally. GMCW is proudly an important LGBTQ+ voice of equality in the nation’s capital. The Chorus has sung before U.S. Presidents and alongside film, television and musical theater legends Carol Channing and Angela Lansbury.
To learn more about the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) and to purchase tickets for “Whitney,” go to https://www.gmcw.org.