Making music.

Making history.

During the fall of 1978, a call went out to men in and around the Castro who liked to sing inviting them to a gathering with the purpose of possibly creating a chorus.  The driving force was Jon Sims, the conductor of the Freedom Band.  October 30 was chosen as the date of the first “rehearsal” to be held at Everett Middle School.  The word went out, flyers posted around the neighborhood.

Interest mounted leading up to that first gathering held at Everett Middle School.  Around 100 men showed up on the first night.  The atmosphere of excitement was described as palpable.  The men sang “If They Could See Me Now” and “Stouthearted Men”!

Jon Sims conducted the first couple of rehearsals, planning to call the group “Men About Town.”   Other suggested names for the group (seriously) were Foggy City Chorus and Homosexual Choir (“gay” was still considered denigrating).  After a few weeks, Dick Kramer was brought on to conduct the new group and, thank goodness, they settled on the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.  It turned out to be a fortuitous decision.  One of the small groups did keep the name “Men About Town.”  By the way, the original name of the SF Gay and Lesbian Freedom Band was the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps.

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The rest of the story is now legendary and suitable for movie scripts.  At the 4th rehearsal, on November 27, having spent the day with the news of Harvey Milk and George Moscone’s assassinations, the singers showed up to rehearsal grief-stricken and in shock.  Dick Kramer passed out Mendelsohn’s “Thou, Lord our Refuge.”  They all went from there to City Hall steps for the candlelight vigil where they performed for the very first time.

Little did the men who gathered those 35 years ago know they were actually giving birth to a world-wide LGBT Choral phenomenon that now boasts hundreds of choruses around the globe.

OUR MISSION

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus creates extraordinary musical experiences that inspire community, activism, and compassion.
In November of 1978, from the steps of San Francisco City Hall, the world's first openly gay men's chorus sang in public for the very first time. It was at a candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk, the day he was murdered. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus toured the country, inspired thousands, and helped to ignite the worldwide gay and lesbian choral movement. The complete history of the Chorus can be found on Wikipedia.
Artistic Directors & Conductors
  • Jon Reed Sims (Oct. - Dec. 1978)
  • Dick Kramer (Dec. 1978 - Jan. 1982)
  • Ernie Veniegas (1982–1985)
  • Greg Tallman (Aug. 1985 - June 1989)
  • Dr. Stan Hill (July 1989 - July 2000)
  • Dr. Kathleen McGuire (Aug. 2000 - Dec. 2010). Conductor Laureate Jan. 3, 2011.
  • Dr. Timothy Seelig (Jan. 2011 – Present. Guest Conductor, Feb. - June 2009)
 
Discography
  • Tours America '81 (Golden Gate Records 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)
  • Misbehavin' with Nell Carter (May 1999)
  • Sing Me to Heaven (July 2000)
  • Exile (June 2000)
  • Best of SFGMC (June 2001)
  • I Dream of a Time (November 2001)
  • 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)
  • USS Metaphor (DVD, May 2008)
  • Creating Harmony: 30th Season Highlights and New World Waking (double CD, Dec. 2008)
  • A Few Licks (February 2009)
  • Tune In, Turn Up, Sing Out (June 2009)
  • California Freedom Tour 2010 (May 2010)
  • Words (April 2011)
  • Testimony (DVD March 2012)
  • Enchantingly Wicked (June 2012)
  • I Am Harvey Milk (October 2013)

Artistic & Administrative Staff

Dr. Timothy Seelig
Artistic Director & Conductor

Tim Seelig is a conductor, singer, teacher, and motivational speaker. In addition to being Artistic Director and Conductor of San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, he continues an extremely busy guest-conducting schedule throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

He is Conductor Emeritus of the Turtle Creek Chorale, based in Dallas, Texas, which he conducted for 20 years. Tim was the first Artistic Director in Residence for the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA).

Known for his enthusiasm and sense of humor, the New York Times calls Seelig an “expressive performer,” and the Fort Worth Star Telegram quips, “Seelig slices a thick cut of ham.”

He is the proud father of two wonderful children and celebrated the recent arrival of his first grandchild.

Jon Carroll
Managing Director

With over 25 years experience within the film, performing, and visual arts, Jon Carroll began his career in theatrical production management for regional theatre and Broadway touring shows. He later joined the film marketing division of Walt Disney Studios, and served as a transactional executive in Legal Affairs at Twentieth Century Fox Film Studios. Carroll has also worked as the Associate Director for the Fresno Metropolitan Museum and Chairman/Festival Director of the Reel Pride LGBT Film Festival. Most recently, he was the Director of External Affairs for Cal Humanities, and responsible for its marketing, development, and legislative advocacy.

Mr. Carroll is the recipient of several ADDY Awards for Advertising in the Arts, and special recognition from the California State Senate, General Assembly, and the United States Congress.

Artistic Staff

Carl Pantle

Principal Accompanist
Music Director, Vocal Minority

Thom Vindiola

Creative Manager

Lynden Bair

Associate Accompanist
Music Assistant

Mike Holland

Artistic Operations Director

Volunteer Staff

Sanford Smith

Director, SWAG

Steve Valdez

Production Coordinator
Choreographer

Administrative Staff

TJ Busse

Controller and Grants Manager

Christian Walters

Interim Member Services

Tony McIntosh

Box Office & Merchandise

Peter Zimmerman

Social Media Coordinator

Board of Directors

The role of the Golden Gate Performing Arts Board of Directors is to support the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus in its mission to create extraordinary musical experiences that inspire community, activism, and compassion. The Board maintains oversight of the mission, financial and fiduciary management, maintaining public trust in the institution, hiring and evaluation of Executive staff, and support for Executive staff. Through appreciation and respect for the organization’s history, the Board leads the organization as visionaries for the future.

Executive Committee
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Justin Taylor

Chair

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Cynthia Cooper

Vice Chair

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Dennis Stradford

Treasurer

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Mike Bankert

Secretary

Community Members
  • Mark Delgado
  • Melané Ali
  • Craig Brennan
  • Peter Drake
  • Trudi Loscotoff
  • William Vigna
Singing Members
  • Glenn DeSandre
  • Dan Aaron
  • Kenneth Alford
  • Mike Bernard
  • Jeffrey Huang
  • Gregory Marks
Leadership Team
  • Steve Gallagher
    Chorus President
Executive Members
  • Dr. Timothy Seelig

The Lollipop Guild

The Lollipop Guild was founded in 1979 and is recognized as the world’s first openly gay small ensemble. Known for its light-hearted and upbeat style of a cappella singing, The Lollipop Guild has grown from a Barbershop Quartet into an ensemble that features over 20 of SFGMC’s finest singers.

In addition to touring and concerts, the Lollipop Guild has a long history of outreach performances in our community. They’ve sung at countless hospice events, helped raise money for local HIV/AIDS support organizations, and have performed with Donna Sachet in her holiday show. In 1996 they performed the National Anthem at the San Francisco Giants “Until There’s A Cure” game, making the Lollipop Guild the first gay chorus to ever sing at a Major League Baseball event.

Vocal Minority

Vocal Minority was founded in 2003 during the Chorus’ landmark 25th anniversary season in honor of the small ensemble Vocal Minority that began in 1980. A select group of performers, Vocal Minority members guarantee to sing, dance, and–most importantly—smile their way into everyone’s hearts. With a repertoire ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, their unique brand of fun, quality entertainment is second to none.

SWAG

Formed in 2013, SWAG is the newest small ensemble to emerge from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and made their debut at the world premiere of I Am Harvey Milk. Their focus on the gospel, R&B, and pop genres brings a unique soulful beat to their performances that revels in the memories and music of the past 35 years of the SFGMC history while looking to the future with these energetic & uplifting performers!

With nearly 300 active members, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is a wealth of talent, but this group of men is also a family of love and support, celebrating our gay pride through musical excellence.

SFGMC is a great place to meet people while doing something enjoyable and worthwhile. In addition to our regular concert series, we have appeared with celebrities, on television, for benefits, parades and fund-raisers, and we have toured to other states and countries. There is always a lot going on, and you are encouraged to become as involved in as many additional activities and performances as you are able.

Our family is always growing and welcoming new members, so feel free to audition if you would like to join the fun.

This week, we released the original cast recording of I Am Harvey Milk digitally and physically. The choral work I Am Harvey Milk concluded our 35th anniversary season during the “Harvey Milk 2013″ concert. Recorded on June 26, 27 and 28, the album is a perfect culmination of our 35-year history, which began at the candlelight vigil for slain Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.I Am Harvey Milk weaves the story of Harvey Milk’s life – from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination. Part choral work, part theater piece, I Am Harvey Milk is an emotional celebration of an American icon.

ORDER NOW
Digital | Physical

With music and words by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa (Big FishThe Addams FamilyThe Wild Party), I Am Harvey Milk features Lippa as Harvey Milk, Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, NBC’s “Go On”) as the Soprano Soloist and Noah Marlowe (Mary PoppinsFun Home) as young Harvey, along with the 300 men of the Chorus.

Recorded live during the world premiere at Nourse Theatre in San Francisco from June 26-28, the recording was mixed by multi-Grammy award-winner Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Ranch.

I Am Harvey Milk was conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig, orchestrated by August Eriksmoen, and features the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus accompanied by Carl Pantle on piano and members of the Bay Area Rainbow SymphonyI Am Harvey Milk at Nourse Theatre was produced by Bruce Cohen, in association with Robb Nanus and Jessica Leventhal, directed by Noah Himmelstein, and Video and Projection Design by Andrew Lazarow.

I Am Harvey Milk was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, along with Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and Heartland Men’s Chorus. Following its world premiere in San Francisco, the piece has been made available for choruses to perform from coast-to-coast. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will present the oratorio on July 19 and 20, 2014 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of its 35th anniversary season. Additional performances are being planned from across the country.

I Am Harvey Milk Tracklist

01. An Operatic Masterpiece
02. I Am the Bullet
03. You Are Here
04. Friday Night in the Castro
05. Was I Wrong?
06. A Decent Society
07. Sticks and Stones
08. Lavender Pen
09. Thank you, Mrs. Rosenblat
10. San Francisco
11. Leap
12. Tired of the Silence

ORDER NOW
Digital | Physical
This week, we released the original cast recording of I Am Harvey Milk digitally and physically. The choral work I Am Harvey Milk concluded our 35th anniversary season during the “Harvey Milk 2013″ concert. Recorded on June 26, 27 and 28, the album is a perfect culmination of our 35-year history, which began at the candlelight vigil for slain Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.I Am Harvey Milk weaves the story of Harvey Milk’s life – from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination. Part choral work, part theater piece, I Am Harvey Milk is an emotional celebration of an American icon.

ORDER NOW
Digital | Physical

With music and words by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa (Big FishThe Addams FamilyThe Wild Party), I Am Harvey Milk features Lippa as Harvey Milk, Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, NBC’s “Go On”) as the Soprano Soloist and Noah Marlowe (Mary PoppinsFun Home) as young Harvey, along with the 300 men of the Chorus.

Recorded live during the world premiere at Nourse Theatre in San Francisco from June 26-28, the recording was mixed by multi-Grammy award-winner Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Ranch.

I Am Harvey Milk was conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig, orchestrated by August Eriksmoen, and features the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus accompanied by Carl Pantle on piano and members of the Bay Area Rainbow SymphonyI Am Harvey Milk at Nourse Theatre was produced by Bruce Cohen, in association with Robb Nanus and Jessica Leventhal, directed by Noah Himmelstein, and Video and Projection Design by Andrew Lazarow.

I Am Harvey Milk was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, along with Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and Heartland Men’s Chorus. Following its world premiere in San Francisco, the piece has been made available for choruses to perform from coast-to-coast. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will present the oratorio on July 19 and 20, 2014 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of its 35th anniversary season. Additional performances are being planned from across the country.

I Am Harvey Milk Tracklist

01. An Operatic Masterpiece
02. I Am the Bullet
03. You Are Here
04. Friday Night in the Castro
05. Was I Wrong?
06. A Decent Society
07. Sticks and Stones
08. Lavender Pen
09. Thank you, Mrs. Rosenblat
10. San Francisco
11. Leap
12. Tired of the Silence

ORDER NOW
Digital | Physical

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