Choir and Gay Men's Chorus Sing Together
Dr. Timothy Seelig never expected to be a guest conductor for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—any more than his choir members expected to sing with them. But that is just what happened at the Shoreline Amphitheatre south of San Francisco. Seelig, a veteran choir leader of 20 years who is the artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, led the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the encore concluding the concert, the fourth stop in California on the Choir’s Classic Coast Tour.
When he received the invitation to conduct the Choir—the Gay Men’s Chorus had already been invited to sing at sound check—his response was “I have to pick myself up off the floor.”
“The Choir was so wonderful in a really warm way,” Seelig said of his experience. While he doesn’t agree with the beliefs of the Choir, he had high praise for the “300 beautiful people who believe with all of their heart what they are singing. That resonates with everybody.”
"The purpose of music is to unite people," said Mormon Tabernacle Choir president Ron Jarrett. "Music affects people in many ways. This is a great opportunity to bring two cultures, if you will, to the center of things and to build bridges, to make friends, and to make an enjoyable experience for everyone through music."
Earlier at the afternoon sound check, 25 members of Seelig’s chorus sang with the Choir at the rehearsal for the evening performance. Seelig described it as “an amazing afternoon” for some of his singers getting to be up in the midst of the chorus, “which was really significant for them.”
It wasn’t the first time Seelig had heard the Choir in person, but “to see them in concert up close and personal doing their thing was amazing,” he said. “There is no other choir on the planet that does what they do.”
What Seelig will always remember about the concert is the faces of the chorus members. He described walking out on stage and “looking at them, and their faces were just glowing. I am sure they are taught to tell their faces to glow, but I like to think it was a little extra-special glow because of the importance of this evening.”
“It was something we never thought would come,” he said.