The Best of GMCLA

Turn Back Time, celebrating 40 years of singing!

The Best of GMCLA

Turn Back Time – April 2019

For our 40th Anniversary Spring performance, Turn Back Time: The Best of GMCLA, we went through the archives and pulled out some favorite songs that our guys have performed over the decades. From Sondheim to Schwartz and Madonna to Gaga, this performance was stacked with show-stoppers. Thank you to our Corporate Concert Sponsor, Hyundai!

Whether you’ve been in the audience for years or recently discovered the chorus, thank you for joining us as we performed these hits from our first 40 years. The images below show the energy, power, and joy that are always hallmarks of GMCLA!  See the full gallery on our Facebook Page.

Additions to the printed Program Journal

Lou Spisto interim Executive Director

From 2015 to 2018 Lou Spisto served on the GMCLA Board of Directors. He is a Tony-nominated producer and a nonprofit arts administrator who has led several of the country’s most prominent arts organizations including two in Southern California. As Executive Producer for The Old Globe, Spisto raised $75 million for its capital campaign and produced 16 plays and musicals in three venues for ten seasons. At Pacific Symphony for eleven years, he tripled the budget and erased the deficit, built an endowment, and created one of the industry’s leading music education programs. As a commercial theatre producer, Lou has had six projects on Broadway, one on London’s West End, and one in Los Angeles. He holds an MA in Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Gavin Thrasher Interim Artistic Director & Conductor

earned his masters in conducting from USC and has been with GMCLA for four years. In his time with GMCLA, Gavin has also been youth programs director, creating a vocal music program for the LA County Probation system, as well as a new project with the Partnership for LA Schools. Gavin has also been conductor of the USC Apollo Chorus, served as a professor and music director at the University of Redlands, and invited as a guest conductor and presenter for national conferences and events.

Dr. Cassie Nickols Gonzalez Principal Accompanist

is on her fourth season with GMCLA. An LA native, Cassie has become an Ovation-nominated musical director, sought-after accompanist, performer, teacher, and coach, winning such accolades as “Most Outstanding Graduate” from the Thornton School at USC. Her performances have taken her to New York and London and range from classical recitals to rock concerts to musical theatre.​

Jason Thomas (Production Coordinator)

Joined GMCLA in September and was so impressed with the organization, he came on as Production Coordinator for Come As You Are. Jason has worked all over the globe in various capacities of live show production including a five year stint as Talent Manager for Universal Studios Hollywood.​

Adam Matthew (Technical Director)

has been GMCLA’s chorus Production Stage Manager for the last four seasons. Outside of the chorus, he is the Technical Director & Production Stage Manager for GMCLA’s it gets better Tour. Adam has been working in all aspects of theatre for the last 20 years all over the country and is now happy to call GMCLA and Los Angeles home.​

Billy Rugh and Mishka Benton (Choreographers)

Billy and Mishka have worked together as choreographers for 19 years. Most recently their choreography can be seen on episodes of this past season of the CW’s Legacies, on America’s Got Talent, in the Pixar Play Parade at the Disneyland Resort, and on VH1’s Trailblazer Honors with Rita Ora.

Their choreography has also been seen on organizations such as Idyllwild Arts, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Angel City Chorale, Vox Femina L.A., Culture Shock L.A., Culver City Chamber Orchestra, Peace Child International, and the Trans Chorus of LA; with artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Lily Tomlin, Alan Cumming, Susan Eagan, Rachel York, Joanna Gleason, Jennifer Holliday, Stephanie J. Block, and Jason Graae; and at venues such as Disney Hall, the Dolby, the Ford Amphitheater, the Alex Theatre, the Zipper Auditorium, the Saban Theatre, Long Beach Civic Auditorium, and Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts.

They have served on the Congressional Arts Committee for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Congresswoman Judy Chu, founded and artistically directed Creative Planet School of the Arts, partnered with the Phil Simon Clinic in Tanzania, Africa, collaborating with community leaders and children at a local AIDS orphanage to create arts programming and social theater, and were awarded the David Chow Humanitarian Award for their work in arts education.

Sasha Markgraf (Costume Design)

is so excited to be making his debut as costume designer for GMCLA season 40. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago and has worked in film,
TV, and theater. Sasha would like to thank his amazing friends and brothers in the chorus for their love and support, and his amazing assistants Aimee Spore and John Lopez for their dedication. Most of all his amazing parents for always telling him to follow his dreams and reach for the stars.