San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Presents BRIDGES

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Presents BRIDGES

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC)-under the leadership of Dr. Timothy Seelig, Artistic Director andChristopher Verdugo, Executive Director-continues Season 40: Unstoppable withBridges, a one-night-only homecoming concert centered around music's ability to move hearts and minds and catalyze momentous change. Presented by the John C. Kish Foundation, Bridges will take place at Davies Symphony Hall (201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco) on Thursday, March 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $25­-$125and are available now by visiting www.sfgmc.org or by calling City Box Office at 415-392-4400.

"We live in a city of bridges," says Dr. Tim Seelig, SFGMC Artistic Director. "Over the last 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has been an integral part of bridging together the LGBTQ community in the Bay Area and worldwide. Last fall, we took our music and message on the road to five states in the Deep South for our Lavender Pen Tour. During that week, we learned so much about our country, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and most of all, ourselves. We want to share those stories and experiences with our Bay Area audiences with Bridges."

Seelig continues, "The 275 members of the Chorus are joined by the three Oakland Interfaith choirs and iconic folk activist Holly Near for this show. We're interspersing videos and photos from the tour with shared stories and glorious music that will bring the house down. Additionally, we're presenting the California premiere of Joel Thompson's stunning new choral work 'Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,' which deals with police brutality and social justice in our divisive political climate."

Adds Christopher Verdugo, SFGMC Executive Director: "As our 40th anniversary season progresses with Bridges, SFGMC continues to push the boundaries of storytelling even further. Through the power of music, we are able to challenge ideas, generate conversations, and create positive change for our community and communities around the nation. The Chorus has always tackled work that challenges who we are and forces us to be more aware and radically inclusive, and Thompson's piece is essential for us in the wake of the Lavender Pen Tour."

"John C. Kish and Jack Plevo were loving partners for 43 years without the hope of being able to marry each other," says Melina Nicolatus, Co-Trustee of the John C. Kish Foundation. "The John C. Kish Foundation is thrilled and honored to present Bridges at Davies Symphony Hall. We believe that through music, we have the ability to bridge the past to our bright future and fill it with understanding, acceptance, love and equality for all."

Joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC), Bridges features a look back at some of the most poignant moments from the Lavender Pen Tour, SFGMC's groundbreaking tour which took place in October 2017 and featured 23 appearances in nine churches and four major concert venues throughout Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Interspersed with photos, videos, and stories gathered while on the road, the program includes soul-stirring renditions of Avalon's "Orphans of God," the Judds's "Love Can Build a Bridge," as well as quintessential favorites such as a Cyndi Lauper/Sara Bareilles medley "Truly Brave," "We Shall Overcome," and more. The Oakland Interfaith Community Choir and Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir will join SFGMC and OIGC, resulting in over 500 singers on-stage at one time.

Bridges will also feature a special performance of "Singing for Our Lives," a protest folk song written by activist and singer/songwriter Holly Near and first performed in 1978 by SFGMC at the candlelight vigil mourning the assassination of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Near will join SFGMC to perform this iconic song.

Additionally, SFGMC will present the California premiere of Joel Thompson's "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed," a monumental multi-movement choral work that honors the last words of seven unarmed African-American men killed by authority figures-Michael Brown ("I don't have a gun. Stop shooting."), Kenneth Chamberlain ("Why do you have your guns out?"), John Crawford ("It's not real."), Amadou Diallo ("Mom, I'm going to college."), Eric Garner ("I can't breathe."), Oscar Grant ("You shot me! You shot me!"), and Trayvon Martin ("What are you following me for?"). Using the text structure of Joseph Haydn's "Seven Last Words of Christ," Thompson chose seven last words from Shirin Barghi's #lastwords artwork project to form the structure of this work.

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