Men in Blaque present the traditions in singing 15th to 21st-century choral music in original voicing. Over 350 selections are in the repertoire of this eclectic repertory ensemble. Dressed primarily in black, but often incorporating energetic dances or ingenious props, the group engages audiences with performances that encompass a wide spectrum of quality sacred and secular music. The singers include computer specialists; dancers; clergy as well as students majoring in music, biology, physics, history, computer science, and business. The wide range of repertoire and performance programming includes scripted narrative, choreographic staging and concert positioning to help enhance and project the style of the music.
Men in Blaque was formed in 1997 at the University of California, Irvine under the direction of founder Joseph B. Huszti. Following the lead of Chanticleer and the King’s Singers, Men in Blaque sought to perform music from many eras and genres.
At the invitation of the artistic director of the XX Semana Coral Internacional de Alava and Caja de Burgos International Days on Choral Music, the men found themselves in Spain during the memorable and historical date of September 11, 2001. The concert that took place at the church in Izzara, in the foothills of northern Spain, was captured on a live digital recording. The Men in Blaque shared a workshop with the internationally acclaimed ensemble, Chanticleer, in February 2005 at UC Irvine.
2006 saw the Men in Blaque invited to compete in the World Choir Games in Xiamen, China. Our two silver medal performances and gold certificate for the highest score in the preliminary rounds from 240 choirs afforded much excitement in the UC Irvine community. At the World Choir Games of 2010, a Championship Trophy, three Gold Medals and Category Winners in Shaoxing, China made the Men in Blaque celebrated winners. The Men participated in the Yeosu International Choral Competition in South Korea in 2013. In July 2014 the men won championship Trophies in Bratislava, Slovakia. A concert tour to Cape Town and Johannesburg in July 2016 included programs with two of South Africa’s finest chamber choirs.
Men in Blaque have recorded five CDs, the most recent being released in 2015. They have also commissioned 15 new works to date. Vytautas Miškinis, Javier Busto, and Imant Raminsh are among noted composers writing for the award-winning ensemble. Kirke Mechem, America’s dean of composers recently composed SING! premiered by Men in Blaque in November 2016. Sydney Guillaume composed RENMEN, RENMEN in 2019.
Men in Blaque also competed at the Eisteddfod Festival in Wales in July 2017. There, the group placed first, second, and third in multiple categories. Recently, the Men in Blaque participated in the World Choral Festival of Puebla-Mexico in August 2018 and the Sacred Music Festival in Nis, Serbia in 2019.