San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
|San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus|
|Also known as||SFGMC|
|Origin||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Genres||Broadway, choral, classical, jazz, popular|
|Instruments||ca. 330 voices|
|Associated acts||Ambassadors, The Lollipop Guild, Vocal Minority, SWAG|
|Members||Artistic Director and Conductor
Dr. Timothy Seelig
Principal Accompanist & Music Director of Vocal Minority
Music Director of The Lollipop Guild
|Past members||SFGMC Alumni Association|
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC) is the world's first openly gay chorus, one of the world's largest male choruses and the group most often credited with creating the LGBT choral movement.
The chorus was founded by gay music pioneer Jon Reed Sims. Despite popular misconceptions, the group does not require that members identify as gay or bisexual. The eligibility requirements for SFGMC are to be at least 18 years of age, to self identify as a man, and to pass the audition process defined by the Artistic Director. Today, with a membership of over 300 voices, the SFGMC continues to present a wide range of music and perform for many different kinds of audiences.
- 1 Background
- 2 Membership
- 3 Performances
- 4 Achievements
- 5 Leadership: Artistic Directors and Conductors
- 6 Discography
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The SFGMC came into existence during the Gay Rights Movement, which rose to national prominence after the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. In 1977, openly-gay candidate for San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk began traveling around the United States to present what came to be known as the Hope Speech. Speaking as an openly gay elected public official, he urged gay people to come out of the closet to oppose anti-gay efforts such as the Briggs Initiative and Anita Bryant's Save Our Children campaign. Sims responded by forming the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps, the world's first openly gay and lesbian performing arts group, early in 1978 and the SFGMC later that year. The chorus held its first rehearsal on October 30, 1978.
However, the first public performance of the SFGMC took place less than a month later, on November 27, at an impromptu memorial at San Francisco City Hall for Milk and Mayor George Moscone, who had been assassinated earlier that day by former Supervisor Dan White. The SFGMC performed "Thou, Lord, hast been our refuge" ("Herr Gott, du bist unsre Zuflucht") by Mendelssohn at the event, which was attended by at least 25,000–40,000 mourners who had marched to the City Hall from Castro Street, which was represented by Milk in the Board of Supervisors.
Sims, who specialized in conducting bands and orchestras, soon appointed Dick Kramer (1927–2007) as SFGMC conductor. The two men co-directed SFGMC’s first official concert, which took place on Dec. 20, 1978, at Everett Middle School, where the 115-voice chorus presented an eclectic program to a capacity crowd.
Despite the precedent set by the band, chorus members debated whether to use the word "gay" in its name:
I remember ... an argument over whether to include the word "gay" in the title. Until the mid to late '70s, any mention of gay was sensationalized and lurid. Gay bashing was tacitly approved. If a gay man called the police about being harassed, they would arrest him.
Being an openly-gay organization presented certain challenges beyond the reluctance of some gay men to join because of the name. In 1981, the SFGMC lost a controversial court battle when Superior Court Judge Ira Brown ruled that the Jesuits at the University of San Francisco could refuse to allow the chorus to sing at St. Ignatius Church. A civil suit several months later awarded damages to the SFGMC.
Musically, the chorus was an instant success. Kramer's commitment to musical excellence was rewarded with many reviews praising the group's ability. That success allowed the chorus to reach out to a wider audience with a 1981 national tour and a companion LP recording, The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Tours America 1981. During that tour, the chorus performed in nine cities: Dallas, Minneapolis (Orchestra Hall), Lincoln, Detroit, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C. (Kennedy Center), Seattle (Seattle Opera House), then returned to San Francisco for a triumphant performance at Davies Symphony Hall where San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein awarded SFGMC the key to the city—the first time that honor had been bestowed on a gay organization. Although the tour was a critical and artistic success, it left SFGMC with a debt of US$200,000, which was covered in part by the mortgages on the homes of three members. The final payment on the debt was made in 1991, just a few months short of the tour's tenth anniversary.
LGBT choral movement
The tour and recording helped spark the formation of many LGBT choruses in the United States and around the world, including the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC, Boston Gay Men's Chorus, Vancouver Men's Chorus in Canada, and the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus in Australia. By 1982, choruses were performing in many cities across the US, Canada, Europe (for instance, Stockholms Gaykör, Sweden). and a global LGBT choral movement had begun to take shape. SFGMC founding member Jay Davidson helped create the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses) and served as its first board president. LGBT singers in other parts of the world created similar organizations, including LEGATO, an association for lesbian and gay choirs and ensembles in Europe established in 1997, and SING OUT! – the Association of Lesbian and Gay Choirs in the UK and Ireland. There are now more than 250 LGBT choruses worldwide.
In the late 1970s, gay choral music was virtually nonexistent. Because the SFGMC wanted to perform music relevant to its members and audience, the group commissioned many works, slowly building a new repertoire for men’s choruses as well as for the LGBT community. In 1979, SFGMC member Tad Dunlap composed what is possibly the first-ever gay-specific choral piece, "I Understood," with lyrics from one of Harvey Milk's inspirational speeches. The SFGMC's 1986 commission, Invocation and Dance by David Conte, was one of the earliest pieces to deal with AIDS, and is now considered a standard of American TTBB choral literature. NakedMan, a song suite by Philip Littell and Robert Seeley commissioned by the SFGMC in 1996, instantly became one of the most important works in gay choral literature and is still widely performed by LGBT choruses. "Never Ever," the final movement of NakedMan, has found its way into the repertoire of high school and college choirs, especially as a graduation piece. Dr. Stan Hill, SFGMC's conductor from 1989 to 2000, was a driving force behind many commissions. In honor of its 30th anniversary in 2008, the chorus commissioned and performed new works by composers David Conte, Eric Lane Barnes, Ilyas Iliya, L. Peter Deutsch, and Steve Schalchlin.
In 2011, Stephen Schwartz created Testimony, a choral work using lyrics taken from submissions to Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. The Chorus premiered Testimony in March 2012, and it has now been performed by several other gay men's choruses.
Also in 2011, the Chorus announced plans to commission a major new work based on the life and legacy of Harvey Milk. The work, entitled I Am Harvey Milk and with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, premiered at Nourse Theatre on June 26, 2013—the same day on which the US Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of DOMA and California Proposition 8 were both unconstitutional. Its Broadway premiere occurred on October 6, 2014.
In March 2014, the Chorus performed the world premiere of Tyler's Suite, dedicated to the memory of Tyler Clementi, a young gay man who committed suicide in 2010 after experiencing bullying. Co-commissioned with several other gay choruses, it features movements composed by Stephen Schwartz, John Corigliano, Jake Heggie, and Ann Hampton Callaway, all set to poetry by Pamela Stewart. Callaway joined the Chorus on stage as a soloist.
In April 2015, the Chorus presented the world premiere of #twitterlieder, a 15-song cycle with music by James Eakin, set to lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Each song is a 140-character tweet.
From the mid-1980s through the late 1990s, the chorus focused heavily on AIDS because of the huge impact the disease was having on its members and the broader LGBT community.
As AIDS took its toll, chorus members used concerts as a way to bring a sense of urgency to the public. The group's music became more somber and began including AIDS requiems. The chorus also became a place for members to talk openly about HIV and AIDS. Men shared tips on how to get into clinical drug trials and serenaded friends through their last breaths. For men who were fighting for their lives, often alone and estranged from parents who had turned their backs on gay children, the chorus became family.— Meredith May
Hill describes the era as "the worst of times," explaining that he spent every Wednesday and Sunday visiting members in hospitals. Members and former members who died of AIDS and other causes became known as the chorus’s "Fifth Section."
In addition to commissioning and performing AIDS-related music, the chorus participated in and presented concerts and other events to raise awareness and funds for AIDS health service and research organizations. Although SFGMC lost over 250 members to the disease, the organization survived, grew, and continued to exhibit passion for its mission. In 1998, for example, the chorus made its first international appearances in Sydney, Australia.
By the late 1990s, the chorus had survived the worst of the epidemic and was ready to resume a more active role as ambassador for the LGBT community. In 2000, with the appointment of conductor Dr. Kathleen McGuire, the SFGMC expanded its community outreach. Over the next few years, appearances included: Giving Back concerts, which raised funds for women in 2000, young people in 2002, and breast cancer and AIDS in 2002; the SFGMC's first by-invitation concerts for elementary and high school students in 2002 and 2003; a performance at Vacaville prison for World AIDS Day in 2003; programming to reach out to transgender, African American, and faith-based communities in 2004; participation in Special Olympics events (2003–2005); the addition of a Spanish-language ensemble in 2005; and sponsorship of an LGBT youth chorus in 2006.
After a quarter-century of singing for gay rights, the SFGMC finally performed at St. Ignatius Church – this time without controversy – on Jan. 11, 2003, at a memorial for AIDS advocate and SFGMC alumnus, David Smith Fox (1952–2002). This was no minor event, with Nancy Pelosi and other dignitaries among the 600 attendees.
In January 2010, in response to the passage of Proposition 8, SFGMC launched its first California Freedom Tour with sold-out performances in Redding and Chico. To commemorate Harvey Milk's birthday in May, 2010, the chorus performed in Bakersfield and Fresno, and ended the 2010 tour with a trip to Vallejo in July. SFGMC chose these cities because they are parts of California that strongly supported Proposition 8. The second California Freedom Tour, with performances in Bakersfield, Fresno, Redding and Vallejo, took place in April through July 2011. In 2012 also SFGMC traveled to Stockton and Sacramento, California, plus Denver, Colorado and Laramie, Wyoming.
The mission of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is to create extraordinary musical experiences that inspire community, activism, and compassion.— SFGMC Mission Statement, 
The SFGMC is a non-profit community arts organization made up of singers and non-singers, board members, staff and alumni. The SFGMC's board of directors is officially known as Golden Gate Performing Arts, Inc.
A number of chorus members also participate voluntarily in smaller ensembles, each with fewer than 25 singers. These ensembles represent the chorus at outreach events, hold their own concerts, make recordings, and are featured regularly in concerts with the full chorus. Currently, there are three ensembles: The Lollipop Guild, founded in 1979, and best known for its a cappella and Barbershop singing; Vocal Minority, founded in 2003, which specializes in vocal jazz and show choir repertoire; and SWAG, founded in 2013, which features a more urban sound and aesthetic and tight harmonies from the jazz and R&B genres. A larger, ad hoc group called the Ambassadors also represents the chorus at outreach performances.
According to data gathered by the SFGMC Alumni Assoc., more than 1,800 men have been chorus members since 1978. Two founding members still sing with the group, along with several others who went on the 1981 tour. Auditions for new SFGMC members are held semi-annually, in January and August. In order to be eligible for membership, singers must pass an audition, be at least 18 years old and self-identify as male. Identifying as gay is not a requirement, but members are expected to abide by the organization's mission.
The appellation "Fifth Section" is reserved primarily for former members who died from various causes, including AIDS/HIV. Former Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, who was never a formal member of the chorus but donated $6000 of his discrimination settlement with the Air Force to the Chorus' 1981 national tour, was inducted into the Fifth Section following his 1989 death from AIDS.
SFGMC presents an annual subscription concert series that includes holiday concerts in December; a spring concert at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall — home of the San Francisco Symphony; an Annual Pride Concert with other San Francisco LGBT organizations; plus a concert featuring the chorus's small ensembles and a cabaret featuring its soloists. In addition, one of the most popular of San Francisco's annual holiday events, Home for the Holidays, has been presented by the SFGMC annually since 1990 on Christmas Eve at the historic Castro Theatre.
Through its SingOut Program, SFGMC also makes up to 50 community appearances each year, including ones that directly benefit local nonprofit and healthcare organizations. In recent years, SFGMC has helped to raise more than US$430,000 for organizations such as the AIDS Foundation, AIDS Emergency Fund, STOP AIDS, Face to Face – Sonoma County AIDS Network, Stanislaus Community Assistance Project, Santa Cruz Assistance Project, Napa Solano Health Project, Lyon Martin Women's Health Services, Breast Cancer Fund, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, Larkin Street Youth Services, Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and Make-A-Wish.
SFGMC has received many awards and honors, including several Cable Car Awards in the 1980s, official recognitions from San Francisco and California elected officials, the Circles of Hope Award from the Metropolitan Community Foundation in 2003, and Absolutely Fabulous Awards for floats in the San Francisco Pride Parade, most recently in 2011. In 2009, the Chorus was voted "Best Of The Bay" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in the category "Best Music Organization" in the "Readers Poll – Classics" section. The Chorus is featured in the award-winning documentary films Singing Positive in 1995 (with a sequel in 2009) and Why We Sing in 2006. SFGMC is featured in many recordings (see Discography below), including the 2005 and 2006 winners of the Out Music Awards for Outstanding New Recording: Chorus or Choir. In June 2007, eMusicUK's Getting Started in Classical Music webpage listed the CD San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Tours America 1981 as one of 12 essential recordings considered Best of the Best. SFGMC was heard around the world singing at San Francisco City Hall during the same-gender marriage ceremonies of February and March 2004, including for comedian and talk show host Rosie O'Donnell. In May, 2008, SFGMC performed "Oh, Happy Day" at the 37th Academy of Gospel Music Awards, becoming the first gay chorus to appear at this event. On May 4, 2009, SFGMC ensemble The Lollipop Guild performed at the Various Voices festival in London, marking the organization's debut in Europe.
SFGMC has performed in Australia, Canada and across the United States, in such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Sydney Town Hall, Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago and Salle Wilfrid Pelletier in Montreal. The Chorus has appeared and collaborated with numerous celebrities and arts organizations, including: San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, Marin Opera, Opera By The Bay (Sausalito), San Francisco Ballet, The Women's Philharmonic, the Community Women's Orchestra, the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Deborah Voigt, Lisa Vroman, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein, Florence Henderson, Nell Carter, Megan Mullally, Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Sharon Gless, B.D. Wong, Cris Williamson, Joan Rivers, Nichelle Nichols, Barbara Cook, Julie Newmar, Armistead Maupin, Jennifer Holliday, Stephen Schwartz, Deke Sharon, Mark Etheredge, Beach Blanket Babylon, Matt Alber, Andrew Lippa, Laura Benanti, and Patti LuPone.
In January 2011, with the appointment of new Artistic Director Dr. Tim Seelig, SFGMC has seen a significant increase in its membership ranks, audiences, and non profit size. For the first time in several years, the chorus sold out Davies Symphony Hall for its April 2011 concert: Words. Subsequent 2012 and 2013 concerts at Davies and other venues also saw very strong attendance numbers. In December 2013 the chorus returned to the War Memorial Opera House after a long absence. SFGMC was invited to Los Angeles in the summer of 2014 as guests of the Gay Men's Chorus Of Los Angeles for a special joint performance of I Am Harvey Milk at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Following the performance of I Am Harvey Milk in Los Angeles, SFGMC launched its 37th season, "Journey," which included three sold-out holiday shows at the Nourse Theater (Dancers, Prancers & Vixens), two nights at Davies Symphony Hall (Passion) and three Pride weekend concerts (Elton: The Sing-Along). For Dancers, Prancers & Vixens, the Chorus premiered a new work titled "New Year's Carol," with music by Ola Gjeilo and words by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Passion included the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie's "For a Look or a Touch" opera and the world premiere of James Eakin's "#twitterlieder: 15 Tweets in 3 Acts," with words by Charles Anthony Silvestri. A recording of Passion was released on July 7, 2015.
Leadership: Artistic Directors and Conductors
- Jon Reed Sims (Oct. – Dec. 1978)
- Dick Kramer (Dec. 1978 – Jan. 1982)
- Robin Kay (guest conductor, Feb. – Mar. 1982)
- Robert Erickson, Dale Richard, Claude Zetty (interim conductors, 1982)
- Ernie Veniegas (1982–1985)
- 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)
- Dr. Timothy Seelig (January 2011 – present; also served as guest conductor, Feb. – June 2009)
- Tours America '81 (Golden Gate Records LP 1981, CD 1992)
- How Fair This Place (1991)
- Brahms, Bernstein, & the Boys! (1993)
- Our Gay Apparel (September 1995, December 2003)
- NakedMan (July 1996)
- ExtrABBAganza! (April 1997)
- Q (1998)
- Our Boys Will Shine (1998)
- Misbehavin' with Nell Carter (May 1999)
- Sing Me to Heaven (July 2000)
- Exile (June 2000)
- Best of SFGMC (June 2001)
- I Dream of a Time (November 2001)
- SFGMC Does Queen (June 2002)
- Closer Than Ever, 25th Anniversary Concert (May 2004)
- Oh, Happy Day! (July 2004)
- Home for the Holidays – Live at the Castro Theatre (June 2005)
- Divas' Revenge: Opera & Broadway Our Way (November 2005)
- Cowboys, Boas and Bears! Oh, My! (June 2006)
- Why We Sing (DVD June 2007)
- USS Metaphor (DVD, May 2008)
- Creating Harmony: 30th Season Highlights and New World Waking (double CD, Dec. 2008)
- A Few Licks (February 2009)
- Tune In, Turn Up, Sing Out (June 2009)
- California Freedom Tour 2010 (May 2010)
- Words (April 2011)
- Testimony (March 2012)
- Enchantingly Wicked (June 2012)
- I Am Harvey Milk (October 2013)
- Illuminate: Live at 35 including "Tyler's Suite" (June, 2014)
- Passion including Jake Heggie's "For a Look or a Touch" (July, 2015)
- Festive: Four Years of Favorites including "New Year's Carol" (October, 2015)
For more information, see catalogue at the SF Gay Men's Chorus official website.
- Moscone-Milk assassinations
- San Francisco 2004 same-sex weddings
- Timeline of AIDS
- LGBT culture in San Francisco
Notes and references
- Although the Seattle Men's Chorus and the Turtle Creek Chorale are both choruses of gay men and are of comparable size, the word "gay" is included in neither organization's title.
- "Tim Seelig, the Turtle Creek Chorale's Artistic Director, Explains The Power of Harmony". Buzzflash. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Shilts, Randy, The Mayor of Castro Street. 1982
- Herron Zamora, Jim (28 Nov 1998). "Moscone, Milk legacy hailed". Examiner. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- Ammiano, Tom (February 9, 1997). "Ammiano reflects on the changes over 35 years". Examiner. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- Marine, Craig (December 11, 1998). "Two decades of singing out". Examiner. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Perkins, Laura (April 16, 2006). "Quake, Fire Devastate the City: Here's a look at the Bay Area's past". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- "History: 1980–1981 3rd Season". Golden Gate Performing Arts, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Tours America 1981 liner notes, 1981, lists quotations from Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle, Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Examiner, and Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Chronicle.
- Rhynsburger, Mark. "On the Road with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus." The Advocate, Issue 324, page 27, August 20, 1981.
- "Chorus Bill Paid," Bay Area Reporter, January 21, 1982
- Attinello, Paul (July 15, 2004). "Choruses and Bands". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- According to a founding member of the SFGMC.
- A web search reveals that the piece has been performed at numerous state and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.
- In a letter commemorating the work's 10th anniversary, Assemblyman Mark Leno wrote: "NakedMan continues to be one of the most important choral pieces ever found in the history of gay men's choral music." Concert program, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, April 17, 2006.
- One such example: "Dickinson State University holds commencement exercises". Dickinson State Digest Vol: 19 – Iss: 37, May 20, 2002. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
- Hill is well-known in GALA Choruses circles as being a passionate advocate for commissioning new LGBT works. For instance, Hill led the SFGMC's commissioning of NakedMan and its two sequels: Exile (also with the SFGMC) and Metamorphosis (with Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus). Hill often presents clinics and workshops at GALA Choruses conferences on the topic of commissioning new works.
- on YouTube
- "Creative Shout Out: Submit Title for Artistic Celebration – Harvey Milk Performance Piece Coming 2013". Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- "I Am Harvey Milk". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- May, Meredith (4 June 2006). "Gay Men's Chorus carries on". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
- Interview with Dr. Stan Hill in the documentary film, Why We Sing (June, 2006).
- The following article lists the names of chorus members of the Fifth Section. Note that other chorus members have died since publication: "Gay Men's Chorus carries on – The Fifth Section". San Francisco Chronicle. June 4, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "Gay and lesbian choruses have performed many opposite works since early in the crisis, including reinterpretations of older songs. New cantatas written for them include Hidden Legacies by Roger Bourland and John Hall (1992) and Naked Man by Robert Seeley (1996)." Attinello, Paul (March 9, 2007). "Music and AIDS". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- Ulrich, Allan (February 21, 1995). "'Classical Action' gala inspiring, entertaining". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- May, Meredith (June 4, 2006). "Gay men's chorus carries on". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- For more information about these activities, see: May, Meredith (March 10, 2002). "Teaching the reality of gay life: Oakland schoolkids learn a rare lesson". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06. "Year 2000 News Archive". QComedy.com. Retrieved 2007-03-09. "Newsletter Volume I". GLSEN San Francisco/East Bay. Spring 2002. Retrieved 2007-03-09. "MAXreport, September 2002". MAX Men's Associated Exchange. Retrieved 2007-03-09. "Singing Praises: Are you there, God?". Village Voice Media for SF Weekly. April 14, 2004. Retrieved 2007-03-09. Van Iquity, Sister Dana (October 26, 2006). "Back To The Fabulous '50s With Gay Men's Chorus". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved 2007-03-06. Van Iquity, Sister Dana (May 25, 2006). "GLAM Youth Choir's Stirring Debut". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved 2007-03-06. Spirit of the Season event programs, Special Olympics, 2003 – 2005; "Inside News," HEPP (HIV & Hepatitis Education Prison Project) Report, December 2003 Vol. 6, Issue 12, Page 9
- McMillan, Dennis. "Gay Men's Chorus Makes History – Emotional Events Mark Turning Points," San Francisco Bay Times, January 23, 2003.
- Nevius, C.W. "Gay chorus hits hinterlands to open hearts," "San Francisco Chronicle," February 1, 2010.
- http://www.sfgmc.org, 2013
- SFGMC has included subgroups since 1979. Former ensembles include: Chamber Singers, Men About Town, Nota Bene, Swing Set, and an unofficial group, Automatic Pilot.
- According to SFGMC's official website, The Lollipop Guild was the first official sub-group of a gay chorus and is the longest-running group of its kind in GALA Choruses.
- "About the Chorus – Ensembles". Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- SFGMC New Member Handbook, Golden Gate Performing Arts Inc., 2007
- Held at various locations each June since 1979, this event is an official event of San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration
- "Without anyone trying to make it so, the annual Christmas Eve concert at the Castro Theatre presented by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has somehow become a sine qua non tradition [...]"Chang, Chin (December 12, 2003). "Clef Notes – A month of the Bay Area's best orchestral and vocal music". SFGate. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "2010 LGBT Heroes". KQED inc. Archived from the original on 2014-06-19. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Statement Issued By The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus," Bay Area Reporter, February 11, 1982
- "Posthumous Honor to SF Supervisor Harvey Milk Celebrates His Life & Legacy at 25th Anniversary of His Death". Common Dreams. September 16, 2003. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Carman, John (August 23, 1995). "Cinemax Profiles Courageous S.F. Gay Chorus". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- "Why We Sing: The Choruses". Why We Sing. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
- "Out Music Awards". Queer Music Heritage, compiled by JD Doyle. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
- Gordon, Rachel (February 27, 2004). "O'Donnell ties knot at City Hall". SFGate,. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- See: http://fromthepodium.blogspot.com/2008/03/march-2008.html
- See conductor's February 2010 blog entry and Various Voices concert program
- "THE 13TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED". Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "Oh Happy Day: Credits". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- http://www.gmcla.org, August 2013
- "Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- Whiting, Sam (July 14, 2000). "Stan Hill Takes a Final Bow". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- Roe, Richard Allen. "McGuire Named Conductor Laureate". ChoralNet. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Martine, Lord (April 27, 2001). "Changing tunes It's a whole new era for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "SF Gay Men's Chorus Gets New Conductor". "Bay Area Reporter".
- This title is omitted from the recordings listed at SFGMC's website.
- Compiled by Michael Panter and Peter Stark for wes zwei and digitally remastered by Don't Panic Service (Germany)
- Including and produced by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C.
- Documentary of the GALA Choruses Festival, Montreal, 2004: www.WhyWeSing.org
- Harmanci, Reyhan. A NOTE ON CHANGE: 'Why We Sing!' Documentary explores choral music's appeal and how it fosters community. San Francisco Chronicle, August 24, 2006
- Hilliard, Russell E. "The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus A Historical Perspective on the Role of a Chorus as a Social Service." Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services: Issues in Practice, Policy, and Research. The official journal of the Caucus of the LGBT Faculty & Students in Social Work. Volume: 14, October 29, 2002. Issue ISSN 1053-8720. The Haworth Press, Inc.