SAN FRANCISCO -- The Penn State Glee Club performed for a chorus more than 300 men strong on Monday night while on its first tour of the city.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the first group to use the word ‘gay’ in its name, welcomed the Glee Club with applause as it entered the Baha’i Faith-San Francisco Center where the chorus rehearses every week.
Director of the Glee Club Christopher Kiver and Artistic Director and Conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Timothy Seelig led the two groups in warm up exercises.
The Glee Club, which is on tour during the duration of spring break, performed a few songs from its repertoire and the chorus did the same.
The Glee Club, which does not have many opportunities in Happy Valley to hear other men choral groups sing, saw the opportunity to hear the chorus as a learning experience, Kiver said.
“It is terrific for us to see male choirs and see the commitment they have. It has been a terrific experience,” Kiver said.
The Chorus, which is in its 35th year since its founding, performed for the first time on the steps of San Francisco City Hall at the candlelight vigil after the assassination of Mayor George Mascone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Milk was the first openly-gay politician in the United States. The group had only been established for a few weeks at that time, Interim Executive Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus John Alecca said.
The Chorus now performs original material in concert every 10-12 weeks, Alecca said. Currently it is rehearsing for “Snow White and her Merry Men” with another iconic San Francisco group, Beach Blanket Babylon, he added.
The chorus has two Penn State alumni in the group, one of which was also a member of Glee Club.
“It was so hard for me not to be out in college and Glee Club and singing has always been very important to me,” said Stuart Cohen, Class of 1976. “It was so incredible to hear Glee Club and I was really proud and glad they were here.”
The Glee Club, which will be on the tour in San Francisco until Thursday, has been performing at various churches and high schools in the greater Bay Area. Founded in 1888, Glee Club has over 80 members and 38 of them made the trip to San Francisco, Kiver said.