"In 2001, Rich Cook, an accomplished musician, started a gay chorus with 13 singers. Today, some 150 members work together to present a vibrant season at Irvine Barclay Theatre where they work to build bridges to the community at large." - Nominator Karen Zfaty, Former Board President, MenAlive
2014 LGBT Pride Month Local Heroes nominee
- Founded MenAlive in September, 2001, the first gay chorus in Orange County, whose goal was to serve as a good will ambassador for the local gay community. "We are not trying to convince anybody that gay is OK; we are a bunch of gay men who ARE OK."
- Receiving the Orange County Gay and Lesbian Center's Torch Bearer Award in 2014 as the individual making a significant contribution to the LGBT community.
- Member of GALA, a national organization of Gay and Lesbian Choruses, & has brought MenAlive to GALA Festivals in Montreal, Miami, and Denver.
- MenAlive has done fundraising performances for Orange County AIDSWalk; the LGBT community in Ventura; and the Trevor Project and participated in the "It Gets Better" campaign by recording a musical video in English and Spanish. The group also sponsors a yearly Toy Drive.
- MenAlive is a founding member of the Orange County Equality Commission which joined with several other LGBT organizations in Orange County in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage and defeat Proposition 8 and DOMA.
- An ASCP/BMI composer of more than 1,000 songs, he is retiring from MenAlive at the end of this season to devote himself to composing sacred music. Before coming out, Cook previously served as musical director/artistic director for several large Christian ministries including Pat Robertson's Political Rallies, Trinity Broadcasting (TBN), and Melodyland in Anaheim.