San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus


San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

] Dr. Stan Hill, the SFGMC's longest-serving conductor (1989 - 2000), was a driving force behind many commissions during his tenure. [Hill is well-known in GALA Choruses circles as being a passionate advocate for commissioning new LGBT works. For instance, Hill led the SFGMC's commissioning of "NakedMan" and its two sequels: "Exile" (also with the SFGMC) and "Metamorphosis" (with Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus). Hill often presents clinics and workshops at GALA Choruses conferences on the topic of commissioning new works.] In honor of its 30th anniversary in 2008, the chorus has commissioned and will perform new works by such composers as David Conte, [http://www.ymbarnwell.com Ysaye M. Barnwell] , [http://www.ericlanebarnes.com Eric Lane Barnes] , Ilyas Iliya, L. Peter Deutsch, [http://bonusroundblog.blogspot.com/ Steve Schalchlin] , and Stephen Schwartz.

AIDS

AIDS became a primary focus from the late-1980s through the end of the 1990s, as the chorus tended to its many members who were ill and dying. cquote2|As AIDS took its toll, the chorus members used their concerts as a forum to bring a sense of urgency about the epidemic to the public. Their music became more somber, and they began adding AIDS requiems to their programs. The chorus also became the only place for the members to talk openly about HIV and AIDS. The men shared tips on how to get into clinical drug trials and serenaded friends through their last breaths. For men who were fighting for their lives alone, estranged from parents who had turned their backs on their gay children, the chorus became family.|Meredith May [cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/04/ING97J7LD31.DTL
title = Gay Men's Chorus carries on
author = May, Meredith
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date = 4 June 2006
accessdate=2007-03-11
]

Hill describes the era as "the worst of times," explaining that every Wednesday and Sunday was spent visiting chorus members in the hospitals. [Interview with Dr. Stan Hill in the documentary film, "Why We Sing" (June, 2006).] Members who died became known as the chorus’s "Fifth Section." [The following article lists the names of chorus members of the Fifth Section. Note that other chorus members have died since publication: cite web
url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/04/INCHORUSNAMES04.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=112&sc=188
title=Gay Men's Chorus carries on - The Fifth Section
publisher="San Francisco Chronicle"
date = June 4, 2006
accessdate=2007-03-10
]

As well as commissioning and performing AIDS-related music, ["Gay and lesbian choruses have performed many opposite works since early in the crisis, including reinterpretations of older songs. New cantatas written for them include Hidden Legacies by Roger Bourland and John Hall (1992) and Naked Man by Robert Seeley (1996)."

cite web
author = Attinello, Paul
url = http://www.glbtq.com/arts/music_aids.html
title = Music and AIDS
date = March 9, 2007
publisher = glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
accessdate=2007-03-06
] the chorus participated in and presented concerts and other events to raise awareness and funds for AIDS health service and research organizations. [cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1995/02/21/STYLE4395.dtl&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=298&sc=095 'Classical Action' gala inspiring, entertaining SHOW RAISES NEARLY $1 MILLION TO FIGHT AIDS
title = 'Classical Action' gala inspiring
author = Ulrich, Allan.
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date=February 21, 1995
accessdate=2007-03-06
] Although SFGMC lost over 250 members, [cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/04/ING97J7LD31.DTL
title = Gay men's chorus carries on
author = May, Meredith
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date = June 4, 2006
accessdate=2007-03-06
] the organization yet survived and thrived with sustained passion for its mission. In 1998, with a renewed sense of hope, the chorus made its first international appearances in Sydney, Australia.

Community outreach

After surviving the worst years of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, the chorus was ready, once again, to serve as ambassadors for the LGBT community. In 2000, with the appointment of conductor Dr. Kathleen McGuire, the SFGMC significantly expanded its community outreach. Over the next few years, appearances included: "Giving Back" concerts, raising funds for women in 2000, for youth in 2002, for breast cancer and for AIDS also in 2002; the SFGMC's first by-invitation concerts for elementary and high school students in 2002 and 2003; a performance at a Vacaville prison for World AIDS Day in 2003; programming to reach out to transgender, African American, and faith-based communities in 2004; participation in Special Olympics events (2003 - 2005); the addition of a Spanish-language ensemble in 2005; and the sponsorship of an LGBT youth chorus in 2006. [For more information about these activities, see: cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/03/10/MN157635.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=028&sc=326
title = Teaching the reality of gay life: Oakland schoolkids learn a rare lesson
author = May, Meredith
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date = March 10, 2002
accessdate=2007-03-06
cite web
url = http://www.qcomedy.com/news2000.html
title = Year 2000 News Archive
publisher = QComedy.com
accessdate=2007-03-09
cite web
url = http://www.glsen-sfeb.org/newsletter-spring-2002.html
title = Newsletter Volume I
date = Spring 2002
publisher = GLSEN San Francisco/East Bay
accessdate=2007-03-09
cite web
url = http://www.maxonline.org/report/report09_02.htm
title = "MAXreport", September 2002
publisher = MAX Men's Associated Exchange
accessdate=2007-03-09
cite web
url = http://www.sfweekly.com/2004-04-14/calendar/singing-praises/
title = Singing Praises: Are you there, God?
publisher = Village Voice Media for "SF Weekly"
date=April 14, 2004
accessdate=2007-03-09
cite web
author = Van Iquity, Sister Dana
url = http://www.sfbaytimes.com/?sec=article&article_id=5840
title = Back To The Fabulous ’50s With Gay Men’s Chorus
publisher = "San Francisco Bay Times"
date=October 26, 2006
accessdate=2007-03-06
cite web
author = Van Iquity, Sister Dana
url = http://www.sfbaytimes.com/?sec=article&article_id=5056
title = GLAM Youth Choir's Stirring Debut
publisher = "San Francisco Bay Times"
date = May 25, 2006
accessdate=2007-03-06
"Spirit of the Season" event programs, Special Olympics, 2003 - 2005; "Inside News," "HEPP (HIV & Hepatitis Education Prison Project) Report", December 2003 Vol. 6, Issue 12, Page 9
]

Following almost a quarter-century of singing for gay rights, the SFGMC finally performed at St. Ignatius Church - this time without controversy - on January 11, 2003, at a memorial service for AIDS advocate and SFGMC alumnus, David Smith Fox (1952-2002). Symbolically, it was no small affair, with Nancy Pelosi and other dignitaries among the 600 attendees.McMillan, Dennis. "Gay Men's Chorus Makes History - Emotional Events Mark Turning Points," "San Francisco Bay Times," January 23, 2003.]

Membership

The SFGMC is a non-profit community arts organization comprising singing members, non-singing volunteers, board members, staff and alumni. The SFGMC's board of directors operates under the title: Golden Gate Performing Arts, Inc. Non-singing personnel include men and women. Members of the Fifth Section are also acknowledged in concert programs.

A number of chorus members choose to participate additionally in smaller ensembles, with fewer than twenty-five singers in each group. [SFGMC has included subgroups since 1979. Former ensembles include: Chamber Singers, Men About Town, Nota Bene, Swing Set, and an unofficial group, Automatic Pilot.] These ensembles represent the larger chorus at outreach appearances, in their own concerts and recordings, and are featured regularly in concerts with the full chorus. Currently, there are three ensembles: The Lollipop Guild, founded in 1979, [According to SFGMC's official website, The Lollipop Guild was the first official sub-group of a gay chorus and is the longest-running group of its kind in GALA Choruses.] best known for its a cappella and Barbershop singing; Vocal Minority, founded in 2003, specializes in vocal jazz and show choir repertoire; "del Castro" ("from the Castro"), founded in 2005, focuses on world music and performs songs in Spanish and other languages. [For more information about the ensembles, see: cite web
url=https://www.sfgmc.org/pub/about/ensembles.asp
title=About the Chorus - Ensembles
Golden Gate Performing Arts, Inc
accessdate=2007-03-10
] A larger, ad hoc group called the Ambassadors also represents the chorus at outreach performances. According to data gathered by the SFGMC Alumni Assoc. in 2003, since its inception, more than 1,000 men have served as members. Two founding members still sing with the chorus, along with several others who went on the tour in 1981. Auditions for new SFGMC members are held semi-annually, in January and August. In order to be eligible for membership, singers must pass an audition, be at least 18 years-of-age, and self-identify as male. Identifying as gay is not a requirement, but members are expected to abide by the organization's mission."SFGMC New Member Handbook", Golden Gate Performing Arts Inc., 2007]

Performances

SFGMC presents an annual subscription concert series incorporating three major events: holiday concerts in December; spring concert at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall—home of the San Francisco Symphony; Annual Pride Concert with other San Francisco LGBT organizations; [Held at various locations each June since 1979, this event is an official event of San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration] plus a concert featuring the chorus's small ensembles and a cabaret featuring the chorus's soloists. Among the most popular of San Francisco's annual holiday events, "Home for the Holidays" has been presented by the SFGMC since 1990 on Christmas Eve at the historic Castro Theatre. ["Without anyone trying to make it so, the annual Christmas Eve concert at the Castro Theatre presented by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has somehow become a sine qua non tradition [...] "cite web
url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2003/12/12/ching.DTL
title=Clef Notes - A month of the Bay Area's best orchestral and vocal music
author=Chang, Chin
publisher=SFGate
date = December 12, 2003
accessdate=2007-03-10
]

Through its SingOut Program, SFGMC also makes up to 50 community appearances each year, including events that directly benefit local social justice and healthcare organizations. In recent years, SFGMC has helped to raise more than US$250,000 for such service organizations as the AIDS Foundation, AIDS Emergency Fund, STOP AIDS, Face to Face - Sonoma County AIDS Network, Stanislaus Community Assistance Project, Santa Cruz Assistance Project, Napa Solano Health Project, Lyon Martin Women's Health Services, Breast Cancer Fund, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, Larkin Street Youth Services and Lavendar Youth Recreation and Information Center.

Achievements

SFGMC has received myriad awards and honors, including "Cable Car Awards" in the 1980s, official recognitions from San Francisco and California elected officials, the "Circles of Hope Award" from the Metropolitan Community Foundation in 2003, [cite web
author =
url = http://www.commondreams.org/news2003/0916-07.htm
title = Posthumous Honor to SF Supervisor Harvey Milk Celebrates His Life & Legacy at 25th Anniversary of His Death
publisher = Common Dreams
date=September 16, 2003
accessdate=2007-03-07
] and "Absolutely Fabulous Awards" for floats in the San Francisco Pride Parade. The Chorus is featured in the award-winning documentary films "Singing Positive" in 1995, [cite web
author = Carman, John
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1995/08/23/DD20465.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=160&sc=161
title = Cinemax Profiles Courageous S.F. Gay Chorus
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date=August 23, 1995
accessdate=2007-03-06
] and "Why We Sing" in 2006 in which each member wears a personalized stole and choir robe in lieu of the customary tuxedo. [cite web
url = http://www.whywesing.org/choruses.aspx
title = Why We Sing: The Choruses
publisher = Why We Sing
accessdate=2007-02-17
] SFGMC has recorded nineteen compact disks (see Discography below), including the 2005 and 2006 winners of the "Out Music Awards" for "Outstanding New Recording: Chorus or Choir". [cite web
url = http://www.queermusicheritage.us/awards3.html
title = Out Music Awards
publisher = Queer Music Heritage
accessdate=2007-02-17
] In June 2007, [http://emusic.com eMusicUK] 's "Getting Started in Classical Music" webpage listed the CD "San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Tours America 1981" as one of twelve essential recordings considered Best of the Best. SFGMC was heard around the world singing at San Francisco City Hall during the same-gender marriage ceremonies of February and March 2004, including that of comedienne, talk show host Rosie O'Donnell. [cite web
url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2004/02/27/MNG1H59R601.DTL&o=4
title=O'Donnell ties knot at City Hall
publisher=SFGate,
date=February 27, 2004
accessdate=2007-03-06
format=
work=
] In May, 2008, SFGMC performed "Oh, Happy Day" at the 37th Academy of Gospel Music Awards, becoming the first ever gay chorus to appear at this esteemed event.

SFGMC has performed in Australia, Canada, and across the United States, appearing in such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Sydney Opera House, Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago and "Salle Wilfried Pelletier" in Montreal. The Chorus has appeared and collaborated with numerous celebrities and arts organizations, including: San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, Marin Opera, Opera By The Bay (Sausalito), San Francisco Ballet, The Women's Philharmonic, the Community Women's Orchestra, Deborah Voigt, Lisa Vroman, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein, Florence Henderson, Nell Carter, Megan Mullally, Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Sharon Gless, B.D. Wong, Cris Williamson, Joan Rivers, Nichelle Nichols, Julie Newmar and Armistead Maupin.

Leadership: Artistic Directors and Conductors

* Jon Reed Sims (Oct. - Dec. 1978)
* Dick Kramer (Dec. 1978 - Jan. 1982)
* Robin Kay (guest conductor, Feb. - Mar. 1982)"Statement Issued By The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus," "Bay Area Reporter", February 11, 1982]
* Robert Erickson, Dale Richard, Claude Zetty (interim conductors, 1982)
* Ernie Veniegas (1982 - 1985)
* Charles Baker, Dennis Coleman, Vance George (guest conductors, 1985)
* Greg Tallman (Aug. 1985 - June 1989)
* Joseph Jennings (guest conductor, Sept. - Dec. 1998)
* Dr. Stan Hill (July 1989 - July 2000) [cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/07/16/PK78463.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=009&sc=506
title = Stan Hill Takes a Final Bow
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
accessdate=2007-03-06
]
* Dr. Kathleen McGuire (Aug. 2000 - present) [cite web |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/04/27/WB58575.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=013&sc=417 |title=Changing tunes It's a whole new era for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus |publisher="San Francisco Chronicle" |accessdate=2007-03-07]

Discography

*"Tours America '81" (LP 1981, CD 1992)
*"How Fair This Place" (1991)
*"Brahms, Bernstein, & the Boys!" (1993)
*"Our Gay Apparel" (September 1995, December 2003)
*"NakedMan" (July 1996)
*"ExtrABBAganza!" (April 1997)
*"Q" (1998)
*"Our Boys Will Shine" (1998) [This title is omitted from the recordings listed at SFGMC's website.]
*"Misbehavin' with Nell Carter" (May 1999)
*"Sing Me to Heaven" (July 2000)
*"Exile" (June 2000)
*"Best of SFGMC" (June 2001) [Compiled by Michael Panter and Peter Stark for "wes zwei" and digitally remastered by Don't Panic Service (Germany)]
*"I Dream of a Time" (November 2001) [Including and produced by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C.]
*"SFGMC Does Queen" (June 2002)
*"Closer Than Ever, 25th Anniversary Concert" (May 2004)
*"Oh, Happy Day!" (July 2004)
*"Home for the Holidays - Live at the Castro Theatre" (June 2005)
*"Divas' Revenge: Opera & Broadway Our Way" (November 2005)
*"Cowboys, Boas and Bears! Oh, My!" (June 2006)
*"Why We Sing" (DVD June 2007) [Documentary of the GALA Choruses Festival, Montreal, 2004: [http://www.whywesing.org www.WhyWeSing.org] ]
*"Out Of The Extraordinary" (2007) [Compilation benefit album, featuring various artists, produced by [http://elm.org/oe Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries] ]
*"USS Metaphor" (DVD, May 2008)

"For more information, see [https://www.sfgmc.org/dev/merchandise_cds.shtml catalogue] at the SF Gay Men's Chorus official website."

ee also

*Moscone-Milk assassinations
*San Francisco 2004 same-sex weddings
*Timeline of AIDS

Notes and references

Further reading

*Harmanci, Reyhan. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/24/NSGLLKN4GM1.DTL&hw=san+francisco+gay+men+chorus&sn=092&sc=203 A NOTE ON CHANGE: 'Why We Sing!' Documentary explores choral music's appeal and how it fosters community] . "San Francisco Chronicle", August 24, 2006
*Hilliard, Russell E. "The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus A Historical Perspective on the Role of a Chorus as a Social Service." "Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services: Issues in Practice, Policy, and Research." The official journal of the Caucus of the LGBT Faculty & Students in Social Work. Volume: 14, October 29, 2002. Issue ISSN: 1053-8720. "The Haworth Press, Inc."

External links

* [http://www.sfgmc.org San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus] official website
* [http://sfgmchistory.blogspot.com San Francisco Gay Men's chorus historic timeline]
* [http://www.galachoruses.org GALA Choruses, Inc.] official website
* [http://kathleenmcguire.blogspot.com Kathleen McGuire biography]
* [http://www.singout.org.uk/Home.html SING OUT!] official website
* [http://www.legato-choirs.com/html/start_eng.html LEGATO] official website
* [http://home.swiftdsl.com.au/~aglcnews/ Australasian Gay & Lesbian Choirs' Newsletter]
* [http://www.whywesing.org Why We Sing] official website


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