By Cicero A. Estrella
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has tweaked the title of its annual holiday concert to (At) Home For the Holidays.
The parenthetical addition signals the famed chorus’ commitment to continuing with the show despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s performance will be an all-virtual event that, as the title implies, can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of audience members’ homes.
By the way, this year’s Christmas Eve show commemorates the 30th anniversary of the annual performance usually held at the Castro Theater, and will feature a number of special guests and a number of surprises.
“This annual holiday tradition began in 1990. The chorus gathered at the Castro Theater on Christmas Eve to bring a bit of home and family to those who had none due to the ravages of the AIDS pandemic,” artistic director Dr. Timothy Seelig said. “Since we won’t be home at the Castro, we’ll be peeking into the homes of chorus members—masked and distanced—to see how they celebrate.”
Special guests include Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, comedian and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” champion Bianca Del Rio, the San Francisco Philharmonic and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay royal figure.
This year’s show will feature the world premiere of the song “Merry Everything,” as well as the usual show-stopping numbers and modern takes on old favorites.
“Music is an inextricable part of our lives—especially during the holiday season—and this year we need it more than ever,” executive director Chris Verdugo said. “As we continue to distance and are unable to be with family and friends this holiday season, we wanted to do our part to bring us together in a shared musical experience infused with cheer and love. And for the first time, we’ll be able to share our holiday tradition across the country and even the globe.”
Since its founding in 1978, the SFGMC has had a long history of uplifting the community during the most difficult of times. Its first public performance was during a vigil on the steps of San Francisco City Hall following the assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
This year’s holiday extravaganza will be held Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $25 (single) to $60 (group showing), and can be purchased at sfgmc.org. A limited number of $150 VIP packages, which include holiday treats and libations, are also available only to San Francisco Bay Area residents.