The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus scrapped plans for an international tour for its 40th season after the November elections, and instead will embark on a tour of six southern states that have what they call “major discriminatory laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community.” The tour begins in October, but Utah fans can see a sneak peek August 6 at the Deer Valley Resort as part of Park City Institute’s St. Regis Big Stars Bright Nights concert series.
“The Lavender Pen Tour will harness the power of SFGMC’s message of equality and inclusiveness, and the value in treating all individuals with dignity,” said Teri Orr, executive director of the Park City Institute. “They will bring their songs of inspiration, hope — and a healthy dose of their signature whimsy — to our stage.”
SFGMC’s Dr. Timothy Seelig, artistic director, said the tour was in direct response to the November elections.
“[T]he 300-plus members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus have, along with the entire LGBTQ community, been navigating our collective way through feelings of shock and despair [since the election],” said Seelig. “We hope our presence and our music will encourage our brothers and sisters, educate others and challenge those communities to think differently.”
“We, as a country, have a long road to travel,” said Chris Verdugo, executive director. “Our LGBT youth fear what their future might look like. We have a duty and obligation to protect them and the freedoms we have rigorously fought for over the last eight years. We believe this tour is a step in the right direction that will build bridges of understanding, compassion and empathy.”
The all-volunteer chorus has used its talents for social justice since its first appearance in 1978 at the candlelight vigil following the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Their first nine-city U.S. tour in 1981, was so impactful, the Chorus helped many of its host cities establish their own gay men’s choral groups. Today artistic director Dr. Timothy Seelig leads over 275 singers in the large chorus, as well as four outreach vocal ensembles.
“It is our hope that the music will encourage LGBTQ+ people and our allies to come together, provoke conversations and action around civil liberties for all, while raising funds for local LGBT organizations,” said SFGMC’s Peter Zimmerman. “We are taking this opportunity to marshal our mosaic of powerful, positive voices to empower our fellow Americans, especially our LGBTQ+ youth, and equally in a hopeful attempt to offer an outstretched hand and have an honest dialogue about the future of our country. We are not looking to argue, to preach or anger, but rather raise awareness, spread tolerance and bring harmony through song.”
Tickets are on sale by phone at 435-655-3114 or online bigstarsbrightnights.org. They are also available in person at the Eccles Center Box Office, 1750 Kearns Boulevard in Park City, the Mega Genius Supply Store and IQ HQ, 435 Swede Alley, Park City, or the Deer Valley Signatures Store, 625 Main Street, Park City.