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    Iconic Choirs Briefly Unify Mormons and LGBTQ Community During Pride

    On June 25, as Pride Month was drawing to a close, an historic event took place. Dr. Tim Seelig, Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), served as guest conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square during a concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

    Seelig stepped onto the conductor’s podium to lead the Choir and Orchestra in the encore number, “This Land Is Your Land.” The Choir traditionally invites a guest conductor who is well known to the community—from musicians and government officials to religious leaders and celebrities—at each of its concert stops.

    Few guest conductors, though, have “been as symbolically potent” as Seelig, noted The Salt Lake Tribune journalist Peggy Fletcher Stack. As she explained, the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains that being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is. The Mormon church opposes same-sex marriage and any gay relationships as a result.

    Yet here was Seelig at the helm, with many SFGMC members in attendance. Thirty members of SFGMC had participated in a special sound check prior to the concert. The sound check included a meet-and-greet with Dr. Mack Wilberg, Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and members of this Choir. Sixteen members of SFGMC also had the opportunity to sing with the Choir as they rehearsed. Two other guest choirs from the San Francisco Bay Area—the San Jose Pop Up Choir and the Grand Chamber Group—also participated in the sound check.

    Mormon Tabernacle Choir President Ron Jarrett later commented, “It was such an honor to have Dr. Seelig conduct the Choir.”

    He summed up the event well by adding, “This was a beautiful moment for both of our organizations to be unified through music.”