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    About Our Cover, December 1, 2022

    The first public performance of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) took place on November 27, 1978, at an impromptu memorial at San Francisco City Hall for Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, who had been assassinated earlier that day by former Supervisor Dan White. The SFGMC performed “Thou, Lord, hast been our refuge” (“Herr Gott, du bist unsre Zuflucht”) by Mendelssohn at the event. It was attended by at least 25,000–40,000 mourners who had marched to City Hall from the Castro, which was represented by Milk in the Board of Supervisors.

    One of those attending was singer and activist Holly Near. While in a car on the way to the memorial, she penned the now iconic song “Singing for Our Lives”:

                  “We are a gentle, angry people
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives
                  We are a justice-seeking people
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives
                  We are young and old together
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives
                  We are a land of many colors
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives
                  We are gay and straight together
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives
                  We are a gentle, loving people
                  And we are singing, singing for our lives.”

    Recently, on November 20 for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the SFGMC again performed during a period of mourning, this time with thoughts of the victims of violence against transgender individuals and of the 5 people who were killed at Club Q in Colorado that same weekend. Both the Chorus and Near continue “singing for our lives,” seeking justice and just the right for LGBTQ and marginalized others to live and be in peace.

    The events remind how important music and the SFGMC are—always, but particularly during times of mourning, and also of celebration, such as during this holiday season that has seen a return to in-person events after the COVID shutdowns. 2022 marks the first year for the Chorus with Jacob Stensberg as SFGMC’s new Artistic Director. He is highlighted both on the Bay Times cover and in this issue.

    Published on December 1, 2022