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    HoliGays Are Here! Beyond the Footlights

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    By Dr. Tim Seelig

    Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, “I wonder what it’s like to be in the audience at a San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus concert?”

    For me, that’s a difficult question. For the past five years, I have had the privilege and pleasure of being on the other side of the footlights as the Chorus’ Artistic Director. And prior to moving to our spectacular “City by the Bay” to lead the SFGMC, I was a frequent audience member for more than 20 years.

    As the conductor of a gay men’s chorus in a different city (some consider a different country— Texas!), I often made the pilgrimage to “gay mecca.” Most of those trips were planned around San Francisco Gay Men’s Cho- rus concerts. I got to experience SFGMC’s wide-ranging repertoire, including an evening of glorious Russian music with opera superstar soprano, Deborah Voigt, a fabulous evening with Emmy Award winner Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), and several anniversary concerts. The Chorus has always been fabulous to behold and hear.

    Sitting in the audience, I experienced firsthand the excitement, warmth and indescribable gamut of emotions elicited by the Granddaddy of the LGBT choral movement. Then, lucky me, I found myself in the most enviable of positions–moving from the audience to the stage–and not just the stage, but the podium.

    Now, along with an incredibly talented staff and 20-member Music Input Committee, we plan the concerts you will experience all year long!

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    That brings us to “HoliGays Are Here” and the 25th Anniversary of “Home For The Holidays.” And we get to put on three perfor- mances of each! You are welcome to attend any or all of them. Add a few out-of-town concerts in Santa Rosa, Walnut Creek and Berkeley and you can attend all ten if you would like!

    First of all, we invite you to our “big” shows at the Nourse Theater in the San Francisco arts district on December 11 and 12. This is the set of 3 concerts where we pull out all of the stops and throw in the kitchen sink. Literally. So, what’s it like to sit in the audience for this one?

    For those of you for whom size matters, hold on as the curtain opens to reveal almost 300 singers on stage.

    Put this into perspective: the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra plays with 90. The San Francisco Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” boasts just over 100. Suffice it to say, HoliGays Are Here is a really big show.

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    There will be fond memories galore with some of your favorite holiday music: “Silent Night,” “The First Noel,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” In addition, there will be new delectable gems you have never heard before—because they are world premieres! There are three this year, and each of them is a jewel. From Broadway composers and hotties Ernie Lijoi and Lawrence Rush, to Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman and best-selling author Rebecca Walker (daughter of Alice Walker).

    Finally, your jaw will ache as you “shake when you laugh like a bowl full of jelly.” And why? Because the stage will be packed like Santa’s bag with more treats than you can imagine. I really can’t give away the secrets, but it might have to do with ballet-dancing reindeer (“Sugar Plum Fairies”) or Grannies attempting to recycle the perennially reappearing fruitcakes by pawning them off on either the UPS guy or a man in a Hazmat suit, armed with a recycle bin.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We will sing and dance our way into your hearts, and your holidays. Costumes, props, lights, handsome men in tails…What more could you ask?

    If  you are in town on Christmas Eve, you absolutely must join us for the 25th Anniversary of “Home for the Holidays.” With shows at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm, there will always be a place for you (although they do tend to sell out early).

    We invite you to share a memory or create a new one with SFGMC this holiday.

    The HoliGays Are Here–don’t miss them!

    For more information about the San Fran- cisco Gay Men’s Chorus and its upcoming holiday concerts, please visit www. sfgmc.org

    Dr. Tim Seelig is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.