In the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation and outspoken homophobia swept the nation, and nowhere has that been more prevalent than the Deep South. In response, more than 300 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, together with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, decided to raise their voices and bring their message of love and acceptance to communities below the Mason-Dixon Line. With 25 performances in just 7 days, the Lavender Pin Tour brings the SFGMC to five states across the Deep South, from Mississippi to the Carolinas.
In addition to telling the story of the tour, Gay Chorus Deep South is full of remarkable human stories. The choir’s Artistic Director, Tim Seelig, was a Southern Baptist Minister before coming out at age 35. Coming out cost him not just his job and his wife, but his children as well. For Tim, this journey home carries considerable redemptive significance. Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Jimmy White hasn’t spoken to his father in seven years. If dad can be convinced to attend, the concert in Jackson offers Jimmy an opportunity for reconciliation. In Birmingham, Alabama, we see another chorus member make an emotional return to the high school where he was tormented as a teen. At that same school we meet a group of queer students eager to attend the chorus concert, some of whom will have to attend without their parents’ knowledge.
Laced with musical numbers from throughout the tour, Gay Chorus Deep South feels more like a musical than a documentary. Audiences will be swept away by the beautiful music, inspired by the lives that are touched by this tour, and heartened as the chorus finds acceptance in places they never expected.
~ Stephen Weisenreder
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