Music has the unique ability to convey what is on our hearts and in our minds when the emotions are too difficult to articulate through spoken word. Love is the binding thread that ties us together – even if we may not know or have known one another. Tyler Clementi’s life, cut short too soon, was full of both music and love. There is a bit of Tyler’s story in each of ours. By sharing his story, the Chorus seeks to remind ourselves and that we can all gather strength from one another and recognize the power we have to change a life just by reaching out, perhaps with nothing more than a hug or a kind word.
Tyler’s tragic story, of course, begs so many questions. “Why?” “How?” “What if?” Why did this horrible series of events have to happen in today’s world? How can we affect change in our world against bullying, both in person and online? What if Tyler had heard just one story of another person like himself who, in the depths of despair and with a sense of hopelessness, found a lifeline? What if Tyler had heard a chorus of men – gay men, like himself – sing songs of affirmation and hope? It is the mission of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus to speak the words and sing the songs to make a difference in our world.
This is why we proudly present:
Moved by Tyler’s story, Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz – already a friend of the Chorus after our collaborative work on “Testimony” – enthusiastically agreed to assist in the selection the composers for the multi-movement work, Tyler’s Suite. He helped guide the entire creative process from beginning to end and composed one of the movements himself.
With the support of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, SFGMC commissioned this work that will add eight new songs to the American Songbook of the 21st century. “As a soundtrack of American life during the time of the Great Depression and two world wars, the American Songbook consists of timeless music that evokes positive values and an optimistic spirit,” noted SFGMC Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig. This work honors the memory of a beloved son, brother and friend and facilitates a conversation about inclusion, dignity and acceptance for other youth and their families. For more information about Tyler’s story, click here.
Don’t miss the world premiere of Tyler’s Suite, as part of our spring concert “LUSTER – An American Songbook.”