The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is the world’s first openly gay men’s chorus. The collection is arranged into seven series
including: Administrative Records; Membership and Production Materials; Publicity and Awards; Photographs; Audiovisual Materials;
Textiles and Memorabilia; and SFGMC Scans and Electronic Records.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is the world’s first openly gay men’s chorus. The Chorus sang in public for the first time
on the steps of San Francisco City Hall in November 1978 at a candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk. The group was founded by
Jon Reed Sims with a mission to spread social equality for LGBTQ people. In 1981, The Chorus embarked on a national tour that
helped spark the creation of similar choral groups in the U.S. and overseas. They are credited with igniting the worldwide
gay and lesbian choral movement and continue to tour the country today. They have also commissioned many widely performed
works that address issues of concern to the LGBTQ community, including homophobia, AIDS, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and marriage
equality. Since the first 115 members sang on the steps of City Hall in 1978, over 2,000 different men, cis and trans, and
non-binary people have sung with the chorus.
A number of artistic directors and conductors have led The Chorus over the years including, Jon Reed Sims (Oct. 1978); Dick
Kramer (Nov. 1978 – Jan. 1982); Robin Kay (guest conductor, Feb. – Mar. 1982); Robert Erickson, Dale Richard, Claude Zetty
(interim conductors, 1982); Ernie Veniegas (1982–1984); Charles Baker, Dennis Coleman, Vance George (guest conductors, 1985);
Gregg Tallman (Aug. 1985 – June 1989); Dr. Stan Hill (July 1989 – July 2000; Conductor Laureate July 11, 2012); Joseph Jennings
(guest conductor, Sept. – Dec. 1998); Dr. Kathleen McGuire (Aug. 2000 – Dec. 2010; Conductor Laureate Jan. 3, 2011); and Dr.
Timothy Seelig (January 2011 – present; also served as guest conductor, Feb. – June 2009).
34 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 28 cartons, 8 oversize boxes, 1 flat file drawer)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Managing
Archivist at the GLBT Historical Society. Permission to publish is given on behalf of the Historical Society as the owner
of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be
obtained from the copyright owner. Copyright to materials in this donation are retained by their respective creators.
Collection is open for research. Collection was processed by Megan Needels in 2021/2022 with funding provided by the National
Historical Publications & Records Commission. Original processing performed by current and former members of the San Francisco
Gay Men’s Chorus, supporters, and friends of the Chorus in 2013-2014. Funding for processing this collection in 2013-2014
was provided by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). Some material in this collection has been digitized
and made publicly available online as digital collections. You can access content on Calisphere (https://calisphere.org/collections/27934/)
and additional content on the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/glbthistoricalsociety?and%5B%5D=creator%3A%22san%20francisco%20gay%20men%27s%20chorus%22&sort=-date).