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"Passion" shows LGBT choral music's evolving role

What's the role of gay and lesbian choruses today? The SF Gay Men’s Chorus first performed in 1978 after the murder of gay San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone that morning. Three years later, they toured the USA, inspiring dozens of gay and lesbian choruses to form. These groups provided cultural voice and safe social connections for LGBT people, especially in small towns and away from the coasts.

Now there are hundreds of gay, lesbian, transgender and mixed choruses across the country and across the seas. With LGBT people largely accepted in most of America – especially big cities – what purpose do they serve and how have they changed? The SF Gay Men’s Chorus’ innovative 2015 spring concert Passion, April 1 & 2 in Davies Symphony Hall, gives some cluesPassion features a San Francisco premiere and two world premieres: For a Look or a Touch, a choral opera about persecution of gays in the Holocaust; My Friend, My Lover: Five Walt Whitman Songs; and #twitterlieder: 15 Acts in 3 Tweets, chronicling an entire life though songs of 140 characters or less. The Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco also have spring concerts, Stage & Screen and Guns and Roses: Songs of War ‘n Peace, respectively, both on April 18 & 19.

Speaking with Out in the Bay host Eric Jansen about LGBT choral music today and sharing music from their spring concerts are San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus conductor and artistic director Timothy Seelig, Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus conductor and artistic director Carl Pantle, and SF Opera Adler Fellow baritone Hadleigh Adams and actor Kip Niven. (Broadcast Thursday March 26, 2015)

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus sends its ensemble The Lollipop Guild to perform at Out in the Bay's 10th Anniversary Party, Wed., April 29, 5 to 8pm at Oasis Nightclub & Cabaret. Join us! Tickets and more info at OutintheBay.org.