A holiday show
like no other
by David-Elijah Nahmod
Christmas begins a few weeks early when the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performs a holiday extravaganza unlike any they've done before. On December 6 at 8 p.m., SFGMC Artistic Director/Conductor Dr. Tim Seelig will lead the chorus' 300 members in Shine! Our Brightest Holiday Show Ever. The guys will be performing at the War Memorial Opera House for the first time in two decades. The chorus will be joined by San Francisco Opera soprano Marina Harris.
"Marina Harris is a rising star at SF Opera," Seelig said to the B.A.R. "How can you perform at the opera house without an opera diva?" Seelig laughed as he recalled the e-mail exchange that resulted in Harris signing on for the show.
"We are looking for a diva," he told her. Harris' reply: "I speak diva fluently."
Harris has sung three lead roles at SF Opera this season, according to Seelig. She's currently an Adler Fellow at the Opera. "You are at the top of your game if you are an Adler Fellow," Seelig said.
In addition to paying homage to the San Francisco Opera, the Chorus will be tipping its hat to the San Francisco Ballet. "All I'll say, and this is an exclusive for the B.A.R., is that this concert required the purchase of 300 tutus," Seelig said. "They're not going to be worn around the waist, they go elsewhere!" He wouldn't say where.
Seelig urged parents not to worry. "This is a family-friendly show," he promised. "Absolutely!"
The chorus and Ms. Harris are going to be joined onstage by Cheer SF. "They are amazing," Seelig said. "They're America's favorite philanthropic cheerleaders since 1980. They're at every Pride event, they're at the Folsom and Castro Street fairs, they cheer every gay event and raise money for gay causes."
We wondered what other treats might be in store for those who attend the performance. "At one point, the entire Chorus will be transformed into a snow-covered mountain," said Seelig. He didn't explain exactly how this would happen, but promised that the audience will be dazzled by the lighting effects. "We'll be singing excerpts from The Nutcracker, and a lot of other stunningly beautiful music."
There will even be a serious moment, as the Chorus pays its respects to LGBT family members who don't have it as easy as we do. "We'll be singing a gorgeous male chorale piece in Russian, in solidarity with LGBT Russians, right before the Sochi games," Seelig said. "I'm so happy to be at the opera, where the acoustics are the best in town"
It'll be a busy month for the Chorus. On December 24, Christmas Eve, they return to the Castro Theatre for three shows in which they will once again be joined by Marina Harris. The 24th Annual Home for the Holidays concert performs at the Castro at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Tickets for Shine! Our Brightest Holiday Show Ever (Dec. 6, 8 p.m., at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., SF) range from $25-75.
Tickets for Home for the Holidays (Dec. 24, 5, 7 and 9 p.m., at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., SF) range from $25-35.
Tickets can be purchased at www.sfgmc.org