Familiar face in Malibu has upcoming show and performs outreach with the lauded choir
Growing up, Kevin Montgomery-Duban always longed to become a musical theater performer.
“Even as a little kid I used to sing in the church choir,” the longtime Malibu resident said.
A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1977, he performed in musical theater around California and even booked some television roles, including the pilot for “Happy Days.” As a triple-threat actor, dancer, and singer, Montgomery-Duban found success partnering with two girls in a singing group, which performed in Las Vegas.
“We had what I call a really bad lounge act,” the now 66-year-old joked. But, working nights did not agree with him. “I thought, if this is success, I’m kind of done, so I left Vegas and came back to LA.”
It was just after he returned to Los Angeles that he and his now husband of 41 years decided to become parents. Montgomery-Duban wrote a book chronicling the journey to parenthood for a gay couple in his book “The Family Next Door: The Adventures of Two Dads and Their Daughter.”
When their daughter was eventually born Montgomery-Duban gave up show biz to become a full-time dad.
“From that point on I was the at-home parent and loved every minute of it and had the best time,” the former Webster volunteer said.
As a father he became “very involved volunteering” at all of the schools his daughter attended. Twenty years ago, the proud parent was elected to serve two terms as co-PTA president and he found a useful way to use his acting and entertaining skills at Webster fundraisers and serving as emcee for PTA and Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue events.
“I still got to perform and I sang at a benefit for the synagogue,” he said. “I got to entertain here and there but really I was a full-time parent.”
Now an empty nester for a few years, the four-decade Malibu resident got the itch to return to singing, especially in a choir.
“I love singing choral music,” Montgomery-Duban said. “I love harmonies and I love singing in groups.”
A friend suggested he would be a great fit for the Gay Men’s Chorus. He was intrigued and auditioned. Of course, with his talents he was accepted into the esteemed 44-year-old singing group and has been performing with them since September.
The choir held a Christmas concert at the historic Alex Theater in Glendale and is now about to perform a spring concert at the same art-deco venue.
“It’s a very talented group of guys. Most of the 150 members have had professional experience as musicians and singers,” Montgomery-Duban said. “One of the great things about the choir is they do a lot of outreach which is wonderful.”
Montgomery-Duban has performed with the group at schools where they participate in question-and-answer sessions with students.
“It’s kind of eye-opening for the kids to see a group of gay men come and sing to them and they ask questions about our journeys and how we got where we are and if we were bullied and all kinds of different things that they’re curious about,” he said. “They do a lot of outreach to schools, which I think has been one of the most fulfilling things for me, to be able to go in and sing for the kids and open up their eyes to our world.”
In his short time with the group the baritone has already participated at three public high schools. He personally spoke about his journey saying he had never heard the word “gay” as a youngster.
“I had no positive image for what it meant to be gay or any positive name for it,” he said. With many negative experiences growing up he says, “Now I have this life that I cherish, that I have a husband of 41 years (legally married 16) and a grown daughter and I’m now going to be a grandparent. It’s an amazing thing for me to come from struggling with my sexual identity to having a life that anyone would envy and I’m just so blessed.”
Montgomery-Duban said Malibu has always been a welcoming place for his family: “We live in a wonderful community that has always been open and caring.”
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles concert is called “I’m With Her.” It’s a tribute to women, including songwriter Diane Warren.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Use the code KEVMON for a 15 percent discount.