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Sunday, April 24, 2011

OUTscene America: SF Gay Men's Chorus brings Out the BIG Gun!

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has never really lacked for drama or enthusiasm. It is the world's biggest gay men's chorus. It is also the first. The chorus' premiere concert took place on the steps of City Hall hours after Supervisor Harvey Milk's assassination. And its musical abilities have been praised around the globe, even when choral music was out of vogue, profiles the SF Chronicle.

But Timothy Seelig, the chorus' new conductor, seems intent on taking the chorus up a notch. Since January, when Seelig moved from Dallas, where he was conductor of the city's Gay Men's Chorus (ed. Turtle Creek Chorale, the largest but slightly equal to the quality of Seattle Men's Chorus in the GALA Chorus association), 68 new singers have joined the group, bringing the membership total to more than 280. Seelig chalks up his popularity to "being the new kid on the block," but also to having guest-conducted the San Francisco chorus last year. He also comes to his new job with the kind of confidence that is born from years of experience: He has been involved with the gay choral movement for 25 years.

Seelig's next concert, in June, will feature country music, new terrain for the S.F. chorus and not exactly one of the rhythms of the city. "It all started on the heels of the World Series, when San Francisco has trumped Dallas," explains Seelig. "I said, fine, I'm going to bring something from my home state in retaliation for losing. ... It's going to be a real hootenanny."

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