SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR DR. TIM SEELIG TO RETIRE AT THE CONCLUSION OF SFGMC’S SEASON 44
SAN FRANCISCO (June 29, 2021)—Following 10 seasons as Artistic Director & Conductor, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) Executive Director Chris Verdugo and Board Chair Glenn DeSandre announced today that Dr. Tim Seelig will retire at the conclusion of SFGMC’s Season 44 in 2022.
“As I look back over the last decade with the chorus, the milestones are humbling,” said Seelig. “The chorus has been able to honor its commitment to music and mission. The music, new and old, has been glorious. The mission continues to stand as a beacon guiding this chorus through what is now 43 years. For me, the successes of these 10 seasons with SFGMC are not counted in numbers of singers or dollars, but in the lives and hearts moved by the music we have made together.”
“San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will forever be indebted to Tim for his many years of service and contributions to the chorus and our community,” said Verdugo. “During his tenure, the organization has seen an overwhelming increase in chorus members—expanding to over 300 singers—and he’s created an artistic product to rival some of the best men’s choral ensembles in the country. He helped elevate SFGMC to the global stage while also transforming the chorus into a worldwide leader in the LGBTQ+ choral movement. He’s been a partner, friend and leader.”
“Anyone who has ever attended one of our concerts will agree that Tim is an incredible artistic visionary who has created a men’s chorus that is among the best in the world.,” adds DeSandre. “Arguably though, his biggest legacy are the thousands of singers and audience members who have been galvanized to take up the mantle of social justice by Tim’s artistry, musical commissions, and inspirational words. More than just a conductor he is a mentor, coach, father, brother, and friend to all of us and he will be greatly missed.”
Considered one of the nation’s most prolific choral directors, Seelig has had an accomplished 10 seasons at San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus marked by several distinguished milestones, including the Lavender Pen Tour, the groundbreaking tour that took the chorus through five southern states in the fall of 2017; the subsequent release of “Gay Chorus Deep South,” the award-winning documentary chronicling the Lavender Pen Tour; the creation of the Artist Portal at San Francisco’s National AIDS Memorial Grove; the purchase of 170 Valencia, the new home of San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and The Chan National Queer Arts Center; the launch of RHYTHM, SFGMC’s educational outreach program to youth that has stretched nationwide; and more.
Throughout his tenure, Seelig forged intimate and important working collaborations with distinguished composers and musicians which have resulted in six major commissioned pieces of works. They include “Testimony” by Stephen Schwartz, “I Am Harvey Milk” by Andrew Lippa; “Tyler’s Suite,” featuring the work of nine celebrated composers including Jake Heggie, Ann Hampton Callaway, John Corigliano, Stephen Flaherty, and more; “#twitterlieder” by James Eakin; “Unbreakable” by Andrew Lippa; “@queerz” by Julian Hornik; and the upcoming “Songs of the Phoenix.” Many of these works have since been performed by other choral ensembles around the world.
Says Tony Award nominee Andrew Lippa: “SFGMC will flourish after Tim’s mighty leadership concludes. The sign of all great leaders is exactly this: leave things better than when you started; influence the organization to keep growing in your absence; be proud and know you taught them and helped them reach their goals so they can set new, higher ones. This is the legacy of Dr. Timothy Seelig. He is friend, mentor, teacher, leader, and forever, musician.”
“Tim has been a driving force in the evolution of our movement,” adds GALA Choruses Executive Director Robin L. Godfrey. “His passion for artistic excellence has driven our choruses to new heights and his connections outside the LGBTQ choral world have enhanced our visibility. Under Tim’s leadership, the Turtle Creek Chorale and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus have commissioned new music and films that eloquently tell our stories to millions around the world. New talent will appear on the scene, but Tim’s imprint on the LGBT choral movement will live on for generations.”
“For the past decade, Tim brought and shared his passion for music and mission to SFGMC in dramatic ways,” said Michael Tate, SFGMC Member and President of the Board of GALA Choruses. “He is a master storyteller and deftly takes the audience on a journey at every concert evoking his signature TLC: ‘tears, laughter and chill bumps.’ With his unique combination of good humor and unparalleled mastery of choral pedagogy, he has raised the musical bar for SFGMC to heights of which we had only dreamed.”
Known for his enthusiasm and humor, Seelig has secured his place as an in-demand guest conductor and teacher across the United States and the globe. For 25 years, Seelig conducted annually at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Other guest conducting highlights include conducting 700+ singers plus orchestra in “I Am Harvey Milk” in Denver; conducting the Guinness Book of World Record’s Longest Choral Concert; conducting the Canadian premiere of “Tyler’s Suite” in Ottawa; and the first openly gay man to conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Prior to joining San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Seelig was Artistic Director & Conductor of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale for 20 years, where he is currently Conductor Emeritus, and served on the faculty at Southern Methodist University for 14 years. Seelig’s early training was as a singer. He made his European operatic debut at the Staatsoper in St. Gallen, Switzerland and his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall. He appeared as soloist in world premieres of composers including John Corigliano, Conrad Susa, and Peter Schikele.
Dr. Seelig holds four degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas and the Diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has authored numerous books and DVDs on choral technique including best-sellers “The Perfect Blend” and “The Perfect Rehearsal,” as well as “The Perfect Choral Workbook,” “Quick Choral Fixes,” and “The Music Within.” In 2020, Seelig released his memoir, “Tale of Two Tims: Big Ol’ Baptist, Big Ol’ Gay.”
In 2022, Dr. Seelig will have been conducting LGBTQ+ choruses for 35 years.
A committee led by Paul Saccone and Maren Amdal will formally launch the search for SFGMC’s next Artistic Director on August 1.