Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Kathleen Blogs Steve.

Dr. Kathleen McGuire, the crackerjack artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus mentioned yours truly in her blog.

The thing I feel especially humbled by is that in this Spring concert are works by such distinguished composers as Philip Littell and David Conte (NakedMan), Vance George, the brilliant Eric Lane Barnes, and Ilyas Iliya, who "came to San Francisco from Lebanon in 1991. The performance of this new work, sung in Arabic, Ilyas believes will mark the first time a gay chorus has sung such a work by a gay Middle Eastern composer. The haunting music, using indigenous tonalities, is an a cappella antiphonal piece unlike anything SFGMC has ever performed. Ilyas has attended most rehearsals, working closely with the chorus to assist with pronunciation of the Arabic. The music represents the struggle faced by the gay community in the Middle East today."

Along with Randall Thompson's The Testament of Freedom, with words from letters and writings by Thomas Jefferson, the selections from this concert are eclectic, serious, and artistically challenging and meaningful. I feel so very honored to be included.

About your favorite songwriter, she said:

My Rising Up by Steve Schalchlin
Musical theater performer and composer, Steve Schalchlin (pictured) is a name many of you will recognize from his recent appearance at New Conservatory Theater in The Big Voice: God or Merman?, written by himself and partner Jim Brochu (Zero Mostel in Zero Hour). Steve is also renowned for his musical, The Last Session, about his personal struggle with AIDS, for which he received a GLAAD Media Award. Steve has written an amazing peace cantata called Pantheon Bar and Grill. "My Rising Up" is sneak preview of the entire work that will receive its full premiere at Davies at our 30th Anniversary Concert on December 1. Like NakedMan, Pantheon covers many aspects of our community, and also many styles of music. "My Rising Up" is an uplifting gospel-rock song; its inspired lyrics sum up SFGMC's rise from the decimation caused by AIDS and the many strides we've made for gay rights over the last 30 years.

Since we met last fall, Steve and I have become close friends, and he has asked me to write the choral and instrumental arrangements for the entire work. I plan to spend a few weeks on sabbatical this summer working on the music. Steve has been working on this amazing cantata for five years, and has been looking for the right vehicle to launch it. We are indeed honored that SFGMC will bring this wonderful music to life. If you are interested in sponsoring this project, please contact our office:, ph: 415-865-3650.
So! It's an exciting time for me. The new revival of The Last Session this next weekend. And the SF Gay Men's Chorus, the next. Then Big Voice in June in Philadelphia.

I like it!

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