San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Embarks on Lavender Pen Tour

Mark Umbach – (310) 986-6312 [email protected]
Erika Satler – (213) 234-1745 [email protected]

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Embarks on Lavender Pen Tour

Funds Raised Will Support Local LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations

August 23, 2017 (SAN FRANCISCO) – The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), whose mission is to create extraordinary musical experiences that inspire community, activism and compassion, will kick off its 40th season by embarking on the Lavender Pen Tour from October 7-15, 2017. The tour will visit various cities and small towns in Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, while raising much-needed funds for local LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations.

With a divisive political climate in the United States, marked by an increase in dangerous and hostile rhetoric against the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities, SFGMC will take its message and music on the road to promote universal equality and inclusiveness, and the value in treating all individuals – irrespective of differences – with dignity. The Chorus will marshal its mosaic of powerful, positive voices to empower fellow Americans, especially LGBTQ+ youth, to come together, provoke conversations and action around civil liberties for all, while raising funds for local communities.

Joining SFGMC for the Lavender Pen Tour is the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC), a community of diverse races, cultures and faiths, inspiring joy and unity among all people through black gospel and spiritual music. Together, SFGMC and OIGC will perform five anchor concerts during the tour, with each show raising funds for local LGBTQ+ organizations. All funds raised during the tour will support the vital work these organizations are doing to dismantle bigotry and discrimination locally and nationally.

Concert Information:

Sunday, October 8, 2017 (7:30pm) – Jackson, MS / Thalia Mara Hall
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 (7:30pm) – Birmingham, AL / Alys Stephens Center
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 (8:00pm) – Knoxville, TN / Knoxville Civic Auditorium
Friday, October 13, 2017 (7:00pm) – Greenville, SC / First Baptist Church
Saturday, October 14, 2017 (7:30pm) – Charlotte, NC / Ovens Auditorium

SFGMC and OIGC will also visit schools, churches, government buildings and more to spread the message and share the meaning of The Lavender Pen Tour. The tour’s goal is to open a dialogue between a diverse set of Americans from different backgrounds and empower LGBTQ+ youth struggling with unease and fear of further marginalization. SFGMC hopes to use its voice to affect change in lives of people struggling to live their authentic lives and communities throughout the South.

“As has been evidenced in the recent weeks, we as a country have a long road to travel. After spending a week in the South last month with our beneficiaries and community partners, I learned that hope - the unbreakable and audacious idea that Harvey Milk built his life on and inspired us to do the same - is very much alive,” said Chris Verdugo, SFGMC Executive Director. “We will amplify the work of these organizations across the South, raise tens of thousands in additional funding so they may continue their vital work and empower and inspire them with our music and mission. We believe this tour is another step in the right direction that will build bridges of understanding, compassion and empathy.”

In 1977, a year before his death, Supervisor Harvey Milk sponsored a gay civil rights bill. Mayor George Moscone signed that bill into law with a lavender pen given to him by Harvey. The Lavender Pen remains a symbol of the fight for equality for all, and the reason for the tour’s name.

View a video with more information about the Lavender Pen Tour here:

Beneficiaries include:

Honorary Committee:

Lance Bass + Michael Turchin • Laura Benanti • Dustin Lance Black • Brian Boitano • Bruce Cohen • Wilson Cruz • Senator Dianne Feinstein • Senator Kamala Harris • Jake Heggie • Ty Herndon • Ambassador James C. Hormel + Michael Nguyen • Thomas Horn • Cleve Jones • Anne Kronenburg • Mayor Ed Lee • Congresswoman Barbara Lee • State Senator Mark Leno • Andrew Lippa • Armistead Maupin + Christopher Turner • Holly Near • Scott Nevins + Philip Hodges • Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi • Pauley Perrette • Dan Savage • Stephen Schwartz • Frederica Von Stade • Michael Stipe • Mikkel Svane • George + Brad Takei • State Senator Scott Weiner • Chely Wright 

Tour Partners include:

  • Presenting Partner: Zendesk
  • Special Partner: Airbnb
  • Premier Partners: United Airlines (the Official Airline of SFGMC), AT&T, The Bob Ross Foundation, Chansell Capital Properties, Inc. and Ambassador James C. Hormel + Michael Nguyen
  • Supporting Partners: San Francisco Toyota, The Wolfgang E. Giesecke and William E. Vastardis Family Fund, Joseph Bondi, Peter Drake + Jared Moreno, Barry Jay, and Bob Hermann + Dan Joraanstad
  • Community Partners: American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, St Andrew's Episcopal-Jackson, Grace House, Brown Chapel AME Church-Selma, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Highlands Methodist Church, Central Alabama Pride, UT-Knoxville, The Office of Mayor Rogero (Knoxville), All Out Knoxville, OUTGrads, Tennessee Equality Project, Visit Knoxville, Pellissippi Pride, PFLAG Concord/Kannapolis, MECK PAC, Myers Park Baptist Church, First United Methodist-Charlotte, Triad Pride Men's and Women's Chorus, GLSEN Knoxville, My Brother's Keeper, Planned Parenthood Southeast, PFLAG Maryville
  • Artistic Partners: New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus, Steel City Men’s Chorus, Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus, One Voice Charlotte, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte

About San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus

For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has courageously served as the international standard bearer for a powerful and accomplished mix of high-caliber performance, human rights, community activism, empowerment and inclusiveness, establishing it as an icon among LGBTQ organizations. Founded in 1978, it was the first organization of its kind and is credited with starting the LGBTQ choral movement, galvanizing and changing the course of LGBTQ history. It continues to rally and inspire other arts-based community organizations around the world. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig, SFGMC has in recent seasons established a heightened level of performance standards receiving audience and choral acclaim, increased its touring and recording profile and broadened its impact and reputation in the community while maintaining its signature blend of humor, personality and high-voltage performances. For more information, visit and @sfgmc (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).