Chorus Celebrates Disney in Pride Month Concerts

Disney-themed Pride Concert. Photo via Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.
Disney-themed Pride Concert. Photo via Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.

Flip through the channels or scroll down your social media feeds and it’s hard to miss the latest headlines about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ longtime feud with Disney. In the 15 months since the entertainment giant – and Florida’s largest private employer – spoke out against the anti-LGBT “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis has threatened and targeted Disney. 

 On June 24 and 25, the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (GMCSF) will celebrate the timeless music from Disney films at the Parker Playhouse with the regional premiere of “Disney PRIDE in Concert” – and they’re not going to let politics get in the way. 

“When I chose to do this program, it was more than a year and a half ago, before all the legislation happened,” explained Gabe Salazar, GMCSF artistic director. “Florida is the home of Disney and we’re standing our ground. There’s never been a thought to change [the concert]. We’ve only received positive press.” 

GMCSF is the first organization in the region to perform the program, which was created by arranger Chad Weirick and writers Bill Casey and Tom Choinski, in close collaboration with Disney. Weirick is the accompanist and arranger for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, who gave the premiere in June 2022 at Boston Symphony Hall. 

The music includes selections from the animated films “Mary Poppins,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Coco,” “Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” and the musical “soundtracks” from Disney Parks. The songs are arranged around themes including “It Gets Better,” Black Lives Matter, life, love and coming out as members and allies of the LGBT community. Members of the chorus will share personal stories and reflections throughout, and clips from the Disney films will accompany the music. 

In the program notes, GMCSF founding member Jim Lopresti explained the lasting impact of Walt Disney’s work: 

“Yes, Disney’s is a world of fantastic stories filled with heroes, magic, and heartwarming romance meant to bring delight to children. And all that will be visible on stage when the curtain opens on GMCSF’s Disney Pride. Yet, Walt Disney once said, ‘I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be 6 or 60.’ 

“Hearing Disney stories and songs from films like ‘Peter Pan’ (‘You Can Fly’) or ‘The Princess and the Frog’ (‘Dig a Little Deeper’) and classics from Disney World (‘It’s a Small World’) has the power to awaken soul-cleansing imagination. That is if we heed Walt Disney’s advice: ‘Never stop dreaming; never stop wishing.’ 

“It is time again to recall what it is like to ‘wish upon a star… and do as dreamers do.’ To dig deep and believe it ‘makes no difference who you are’ … And take to heart the timeless message that ‘there’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware it’s a small world after all.” 

In keeping with the appeal of Disney’s music to audiences of all ages, the Sunday afternoon performance will include special pre-concert entertainment for younger audience members who may be attending their first GMCSF concert.  

GMCSF marketing director Edward Otto Zielke expects still many adults to take advantage of the face painting, glitter tattoos and photo booths, too. 

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone,” he promised. “It’s all about celebrating Disney and families – no matter what your families look like.” 

Salazar echoed Zielke, saying, “This is a show for everyone. Our shows have always been for everyone – gay, straight, bi, anywhere on the spectrum. The show demonstrates we are all the same and we celebrate together.” 

Salazar said the rehearsals have been a lot of work for the 120 singers and 27-piece orchestra. The chorus has been engaged in three rehearsals weekly since their last concert, but he added, “We’re in the thick of it, but we’re really going to miss it when it’s over.” 

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida presents “Disney PRIDE in Concert,” June 24 at 8 p.m. and June 25 at 3 p.m. at the Parker, 707 N.E. 8th St. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $31.50 at


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