New Hampshire Fisher Cats celebrate Pride Night

Drag Queen Clara Divine throws out the first pitch at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game on Pride Night on Tuesday.

Drag Queen Clara Divine throws out the first pitch at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game on Pride Night on Tuesday. SOFIE BUCKMINSTER / Monitor staff

Drag Queen Clara Divine throws out the first pitch at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game on Pride Night on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Drag Queen Clara Divine throws out the first pitch at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game on Pride Night on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. SOFIE BUCKMINSTER—Monitor staff

Damian VanHalen carries a pride flag as he and his parents enjoy the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, June 11, 2024.

Damian VanHalen carries a pride flag as he and his parents enjoy the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, June 11, 2024. SOFIE BUCKMINSTER—Monitor staff

Damian VanHalen carries a pride flag as he and his parents enjoy the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, June 11, 2024.

Damian VanHalen carries a pride flag as he and his parents enjoy the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, June 11, 2024. SOFIE BUCKMINSTER—Monitor staff

SOFIE BUCKMINSTER—Monitor staff

The Gay Men’s Choir sings before the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium on Tuesday.

The Gay Men’s Choir sings before the Fisher Cats game at Delta Dental Stadium on Tuesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By SOPHIE LEVENSON

Monitor staff

Published: 06-14-2024 12:19 PM

Modified: 06-14-2024 1:30 PM


The crowd that watched the New Hampshire Fisher Cats take down the Richmond Flying Squirrels Tuesday evening was a little more colorful than one usually found at a mid-week regular season game at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

That was thanks to Pride Night, an initiative from the Fisher Cats to support the local LGBTQ+ community by donating a portion of ticket sales and encouraging fans to wear rainbow-themed garb. The crossover between minor league baseball and the New Hampshire queer community isn’t huge, but it isn’t nothing.

Clara Divine isn’t “really a sports fan,” but if a team supports her — she’s a drag queen — it’s mutual. The Danville, N.H, local travels all over the state to perform in drag for various events. She just did the North Redding Pride Ride and will perform Saturday at Manchester Pride.

Tuesday evening, Divine threw the first pitch for the Fisher Cats — the first time, she claims, she’s ever thrown a ball. But it was quite a good throw; it went right to the catcher.

“Sports and queer people kind of don’t mix sometimes, so it’s nice to know that sporty people can be supportive,” Divine said.

The Fisher Cats (“sporty people,” for sure) have certainly been supportive of the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus over the years. Among the photos blown up around the rim of Delta Dental Stadium is a faded picture of a choir, directed by a man in khaki pants and a bright-red polo shirt. Fifteen years after that photo was taken, Luc Andre Roberge, whose mustache looks just as French as his name sounds, is still directing the Gay Men’s Chorus, which is exactly what it sounds like.

It used to be called the Manchester Performing Arts Association.

“We had a beard,” Roberge said. He’s been the director for 25 of the 26 years the choir has been around, so he can remember when, six or seven years in, the group made its identity public.

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The choir performs all over New Hampshire, with four concerts for every season. It sells out in most of its venues, which range from local churches to concert halls with 200 seats to, once, Fenway Park. The choir has performed at the Fisher Cats’ Pride Night every year since it began, except for last year, when the group was busy in Boston, singing the national anthem for the Red Sox’s own Pride Night.

Roberge and Chuck Salerno, a board member and chairman of the artistic committee, find the Fisher Cats to be supportive hosts for Pride Night, and Manchester to be a supportive community. Like Divine, they will perform at Manchester Pride for their last concert before taking the summer off.

“We’re thinking about doing ‘Raining Men,’” Roberge said.

Manchester Pride, which will happen Saturday, is hosted by the nonprofit organization Manchester True Collaborative. The organization set up a table at Pride Night to advertise and fundraise for the parade. The Fisher Cats provided True Collaborative with its own ticket link for Pride Night, and it sold about 100 tickets, from which it will get a third of the revenue.