SFGMC Appoints Christopher Verdugo as New Executive Director

Christopher Verdugo, SFGMC Executive Director

Christopher Verdugo, SFGMC Executive Director

SAN FRANCISCO (June 29, 2016) – The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) announced today that they have appointed Christopher Verdugo as Executive Director. Mr. Verdugo joins SFGMC in anticipation of the Chorus’ 39th Season, and together with Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig, will lead the organization to new levels of growth, financial sustainability and artistic excellence. Verdugo brings over 15 years of experience leading non-profit organizations, and comes to SFGMC after five successful years as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA).

“I am proud to be joining SFGMC at this moment,” said Chris Verdugo. “With its rich musical history, deep roots in the community and unparalleled artistic excellence, SFGMC is poised to become a global influence in the years to come.”

Before joining SFGMC, Verdugo served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Under Verdugo’s leadership GMCLA has continued to build its international reputation for musical excellence, doubled its budget, saw massive expansion incorporating education programs in Los Angeles’ high schools, as well as a national music tour entitled “It Gets Better.” Before working with GMCLA, Verdugo founded his own production company, creating and producing major fundraising events and galas in Los Angeles for leading LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), GMCLA and Beinestar. He has also served as Director of Development (Southern California) for Equality California and Special Events and Major Gifts Manager of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He received his BA from the New World School of Performing Arts.

“Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed major growth artistically with the Chorus,” writes Dennis Stradford, Chair of SFGMC’s Board of Directors. “We’ve more than doubled our audiences at our season concerts, we’ve increased the number of outreach performances we do for community non-profits and local organizations and we’ve brought major world-premiere commissions, such as Stephen Schwartz’s Testimony and Andrew Lippa’s I Am Harvey Milk into the world. But now we take the next major leap forward with the hiring of Chris Verdugo, who will bring incredible leadership and management to the Chorus.”

“We are so excited to have Chris Verdugo join our organization,” writes Dr. Timothy Seelig, Artistic Conductor. “He brings such a wealth of experience that will truly take the Chorus to the next level. In 2010, just before moving to San Francisco, I had the privilege of working with Chris when I guest conducted GMCLA for their holiday concert. I got to experience first-hand his dynamism and extraordinary skills in arts management. We are so thrilled that he will be joining us and know he will be instrumental in helping us achieve the landmark goals we have for the future.”

SFGMC just finished a hugely successful 38th Season, including three major season concerts – “HoliGays Are Here” at the Nourse Theater, “Tales of Our City: Our Lives, Our Heroes” at Davies Symphony Hall featuring Armistead Maupin and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, and “Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever” at the Nourse Theater. Next week, the Chorus travels to Denver, CO, for the quadrennial GALA Choruses Festival, and then will embark on an extension tour to Colorado Springs, CO, where the Chorus will host a benefit concert for many local LGBT charities in Colorado Springs. For more information on the Chorus, please visit www.sfgmc.org.

About San Francisco Gay Men’s 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 LGBT organizations. Founded in 1978, it was the first organization of its kind and is credited with starting the LGBT choral movement, galvanizing and changing the course of LGBT 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 www.sfgmc.org and @sfgmc (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).

Season 39 Subscriptions – On Sale Now!

This fall, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus returns for a spectacular 39th Season, celebrating our Community. Learn more about subscribing.

Your reality and fantasy will collide as SFGMC presents concerts packed with stunning music, fun surprises and amazing guests along the way. For the holidays, jump on a magic sleigh and return to the joys of childhood with “Babes in Joyland,” a show that embraces the delights of the season while delivering what you expect from SFGMC at the holidays – gorgeous music, jubilant production pieces and heartwarming moments.

Continue on to the spring, when the Chorus heads to the magnificent (and recently renovated) Herbst Theatre for “Paradise Found,” full of dreams, sublime music and ethereal beauty. And for Pride Month 2017, SFGMC blows the roof off of this spectacular season with “Modern Family,” a fun-filled look at who we are and how we got here.

It’s going to be a fantastic season, celebrating art and community. Each concert showcases the talent of the 300-strong San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, while highlighting wonderful collaborations with incredible guest artists, such as the Piedmont Children’s Chorus, Na Lei Hulu Dance Company and the Kinsey Sicks!

And if that’s not enough, you can add on a ticket to “Falling in Love” – a very special Valentine’s Day concert performed by SFGMC’s four vocal ensembles at the Herbst Theatre. It’s the first time San Francisco will hear these four groups together on one stage.

Babes in Joyland
Nourse Theater
Friday, December 9, 2016 – 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 2:30 PM
Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 8:00 PM

Falling In Love (Valentine’s Day Ensembles Show)
Herbst Theatre
Friday, February 10, 2017 – 8:00 PM

Paradise Found
Herbst Theatre
Friday, March 31, 2017 – 8:00 PM
Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 2:30PM
Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 8:00 PM

Modern Family
Nourse Theater
Friday, June 16, 2017 – 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 17, 2017 – 2:30 PM
Saturday, June 17, 2017 – 8:00 PM

“Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever” – tickets on sale now!

Tickets are on sale now for our summer concert – “Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever” – June 24 and 25, 2016 at the Nourse Theater. Come celebrate Pride Weekend with the 250 men of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as we transform into the biggest boy band the world has ever seen – singing infectious pop hits from yesterday and today! We’ll be joined by guest artists Well-Strung for the shows – you won’t want to miss it.

Please join us for these nights of incredible music!

About the show

Generally, boy bands range from three to five members, but this Pride Weekend, the Chorus will become the biggest boy band the world has ever seen when they bring over 250 singers to the Nourse Theater stage for this must-see show.

Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever features infectious pop music from yesterday and today. The show’s first act includes hits from every decade since the 1960s, ranging from The Beatles and The Beach Boys to Journey and Boyz II Men, and then continuing to Mumford & Sons, One Direction, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

“Every one of us can track our own musical journey with the songs of a boy band or two – those guys were many of our teenage heartthrobs,” writes SFGMC Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig. “Lots of us even had their posters on our bedrooms walls! None of those groups, however, had 250 on stage, ready to steal your heart and make you swoon. That’s just what SFGMC has planned for this Pride Weekend!”

Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band features guest artists Well-Strung, the singing string quartet. The group last performed with SFGMC in 2014 for the Dancers, Prancers & Vixens holiday show. Well-Strung’s members – Edmund Bagnell (first violin), Christopher Marchant (second violin), Daniel Shevlin (cello) and Trevor Wadleigh (viola) – put a modern twist on universally recognized classical pieced while singing pop music hits from the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson and more. Conceived by Mark Cortale and Christopher Marchant, the foursome has quickly gained international attention. Their new CD, titled POPssical, debuted at #8 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. In the past year, they performed for both President Clinton and Secretary Clinton. They have also appeared on “The TODAY Show” and “Watch What Happens Live” on television.

“When we think of heartthrobs and boy bands, there is no group on the planet that better fits that bill than the jaw-droppingly handsome, breathtakingly talented group Well-Strung,” writes Seelig. “They sing. They play. They pose… and all equally well! You won’t want to miss their return to the SFGMC stage this June.”

The second act of Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever includes highlights from each of SFGMC’s vocal ensembles: The Lollipop GuildVocal MinoritySWAG and HomoPhonics. Additionally, SFGMC will present a 25-minute set of music showcasing the Chorus’ “best of the best,” which they will also perform the following month in Denver, CO at the international GALA Festival 2016. The Festival is a quadrennial event that brings together over 175 LGBT choruses from North America and beyond for a week of music making and performances. Founded in 1978, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was the first organization of its kind and is credited with starting the LGBT choral movement. To cap off Heartthrobs, the Chorus will perform its GALA Festival set for its home audience – the first time Bay Area patrons will experience this set of show-stopping, gorgeous music.