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    Performing Arts Portal Planned for the National AIDS Memorial Grove

    By Dr. Tim Seelig–

    Twenty-five years ago, through herculean efforts of San Francisco residents and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) was established in an area of Golden Gate Park. The site has become an international gathering place.

    The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has long dreamed of a lasting tribute to the 300 singers they lost to the AIDS pandemic, as well as to all the singers, instrumentalists, dancers and supporters from all GALA Choruses ( Now, in celebration of SFGMC’s 40th birthday, they will break ground on a permanent memorial to all those artists, making the dream a reality.

    The new memorial will be situated at the west entrance of the NAMG and will serve as an arts portal to the Grove. It will stand in memory to the singers whose voices were silenced by AIDS, and will also honor all artists and organizations who share in that great loss. The memorial will be dedicated to musicians and artists from every discipline and will include the names of regional, national and international arts organizations that have also lost members.

    Structurally, the memorial is to be a gorgeous 8-foot-tall monolith housing a beautiful chime. Visitors may come to the grove, speak a name and ring the bell. In this way, the sound will carry the memory of the loved one out into the atmosphere. The memorial will open to the public on December 1st, World AIDS Day.

    The section surrounding the chime will honor individuals with engraved names. The section in front of the benches will feature the names of organizations who also have experienced loss and who have joined the fight against AIDS. GALA Choruses will be the first organization engraved there.

    It’s a fitting tribute to chorus members, and it is fitting that LGBTQ arts organizations from across the nation have a place there. It is SFGMC’s hope that GALA member choruses will choose to have their names engraved in this beautiful place.

    The ground-breaking ceremony will take place at 11 am on Saturday, October 27, at the National AIDS Memorial Grove, and the ceremony will feature the first AIDS Requiem composed in 1991, “When We No Longer Touch.” The night before the groundbreaking, SFGMC is giving its 40th Birthday Concert at St. Ignatius Catholic Church (the very church it sued in 1981 when their concert there was cancelled. It will be the first time back there). All are invited to the entire weekend of activities.