The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, now in its fourth year, brought its most substantial program to date to the Church of the Epiphany last night.
Of particular interest was the "Christmas Party" scene from Benjamin Britten's first opera, "Paul Bunyan," delivered with a large dollop of good humor and some horseplay. Poulenc's four "Laudes of St. Anthony of Padua" and choruses from Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols" found the chorus well balanced, rhythmically clear and nicely focused, but with persistent pitch problems. Those problems hung on through a couple of the after-intermission hymns and carols until the group of spirituals where, miraculously, they disappeared.
Over the past couple of years, several small ensembles have formed from the main group and last night three of these put on good shows. A song-and-dance group that calls itself "A Few Good Men" did a cute toy soldier routine. The Gentlemen Quarterly, a barbershop-style quartet that needs some tuning up, did a couple of pop Christmas numbers, and a fine close harmony group called Potomac Fever did a nice job with Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song."
The program, which was a benefit for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, will be repeated tonight.