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San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Presents Annual Benefit CRESCENDO: VOICES RISING; Billy Porter to be Honored

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The Virtual Benefit Will Take Place on Monday, August 17 at 7 p.m.

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Presents Annual Benefit CRESCENDO: VOICES RISING; Billy Porter to be Honored

Today, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC) announced that the Chorus's annual benefit, Crescendo, will take place virtually Monday, August 17 at 7 p.m. COVID-19 and social justice protests around the world have inspired SFGMC to usher in a new era of its signature Crescendo gala with Crescendo: Voices Rising. Centered around the joy of musical performance, Crescendo: Voices Rising will harken back to the origin story of the Chorus, amplify the voices of those who continue to be misrepresented and vulnerable today, and renew the Chorus's vow to continue to rise to the occasion and be a beacon of light and amplification for those marginalized voices for the future. Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright Billy Porter will be honored with the Trailblazer Award and activist and philanthropist Ariadne Getty will be honored with the Vanguard Award. The evening will also feature special performances and presentations from multi-talented actor and GRAMMY® nominated recording artist Alex Newell, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, SFGMC, and more. The virtual event is free to attend, with registration available now at www.sfgmc.org/crescendo.

"SFGMC has a legacy of equal parts art and activism, music and mission," said SFGMC Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig. "This year, SFGMC's Crescendo: Voices Rising brings these elements together into one amazing virtual event. The evening will highlight diverse community voices and our shared march towards justice. We'll sprinkle in our signature fun and joy you have come to expect from SFGMC."

Adds SFGMC Executive Director Chris Verdugo: "As the protests around the murders of Ahmaud Aubery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor continue to propel the world to action, the Chorus has yet another monumental opportunity to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and underrepresented and help heal an ever increasingly divided world. During these difficult times, we all have a responsibility to contribute what we can towards a more equitable, safe, and loving society. Join us on August 17 as we lift our voices in song and action."

Billy Porter is an award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright. He most recently won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor for his appearance in FX's Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated drama "Pose." A Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, Porter has numerous theatre credits, including the role of Lola in the Broadway musical "Kinky Boots," which he originated in 2013 and for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards, as well as the Grammy for best musical-theatre album. Recently, Porter appeared in the second season of CBS All Access' "The Twilight Zone," and "American Horror Story: Apocalypse." He can next be seen in the third season of FX's "Pose," voicing Audrey II in Greg Berlanti's remake of "Little Shop of Horrors," as well as the highly anticipated "Cinderella" remake in 2021. Porter's most recent single "Finally Ready" was released in June 2020; he also released his single "For What It's Worth" in April to motivate potential votes. SFGMC is thrilled to honor Mr. Porter for his boldness in bringing issues of sexuality, race, and gender to the forefront through his work as an artist and activist.

Ariadne Getty, a leading proponent of LGBTQ equality in the US and around the world, is President and Executive Director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation, which champions LGBTQ causes on an international scale. Last year, Variety named her Philanthropist of the Year, due in part to her transformative work with GLAAD, as well as her fearless leadership advocating for LGBTQ rights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, over the last three years. For the last six years, Ari has worked closely with the Los Angeles LGBT Center in their massive campus expansion to provide an important resource center for LGBTQ youth and critical affordable housing for LGBTQ senior citizens. She has been instrumental in the development of two key buildings-The Ariadne Getty Foundation Youth Academy-which opened in April 2019, and opening in November 2020 is The Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Center. She is an ally in the truest sense and SFGMC is honored to recognize her.

Funds raised at this year's gala will sustain SFGMC and support its youth outreach programs. The event will also include an announcement of SFGMC's Season 43 programming.


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