Tim Seelig

Last updated
Tim Seelig
Timothy Seelig.jpg
Born (1951-01-10) January 10, 1951 (age 72)
EducationDMA, Doctor of Musical Arts
Alma materUniversity of North Texas, Mozarteum
EmployerSan Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
Website timseelig.com

Tim Seelig (born January 10, 1951) [1] is an American conductor, singer, and educator. He is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. In addition, he guest-conducts and presents workshops in the US and around the world. [2]


Seelig joined the Turtle Creek Chorale in 1987 and served as its conductor for two decades during which he co-founded The Women's Chorus of Dallas. In 1999, he conducted the World's Longest Choral Concert as declared by Guinness World Records. At Turtle Creek, he recorded a total of 36 compact discs. For his work at Turtle Creek, he was named the Conductor Emeritus. [3]

He has authored five books on the topics of choral music and vocal technique. He is the author of The Perfect Blend,The Perfect Rehearsal, The Perfect Choral Workbook, The Music Within and Quick Fixes. As a clinician, he has appeared at state, regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference. [4]

Early life and education

Seelig was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in a devout Southern Baptist family. His mother was a singer and voice teacher and father the Vice President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He sang in church choirs in the Baptist church from his earliest days. After completing high school, he majored in vocal performance and subsequently completed a master's degree and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. [5]

Since teenage years, he dreamed about studying in Salzburg, Austria, having been impressed by the beauty of the place during a family vacation. When he was 24, he moved to Salzburg, enrolled at the conservatory where he received a Diploma in Lieder and Oratorio. Upon completing his degree at Mozarteum, he and his wife returned to the United States to continue studies and begin teaching. Seelig was then offered a job at the Swiss National Opera and moved, with his wife and two small children, to Switzerland. He made his European operatic debut at the Staatsoper in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Upon total immersion in the life of a full-time opera singer, he realized it did not fit his personality or goals in life. He returned to the United States and resumed teaching at Houston Baptist University and began serving as Associate Minister of Music at The First Baptist Church of Houston. [4]


1986 - 2003

In 1986, Seelig made the decision that he could no longer hide the fact that he was gay. Coming out brought instant repercussions. He was fired by the church [6] lost his home, family, and most of his friends. He found out about a gay men's chorus in Dallas, the Turtle Creek Chorale, that was looking for a conductor. During his academic career, he had majored in vocal performance and minored in conducting. That minor and course of study proved useful. He applied for the job and was selected. [6]

When Seelig joined the TCC in 1987, it was in financial trouble. Through his work, the chorale began making profit again by 1989 and had grown from the original 40 singers to 200. In 1989, he co-founded the Women's Chorus of Dallas and conducted it off and on for the next twelve years. [4] In 1989, he made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall, which was reviewed by the New York Times, which called him "an expressive performer." [2]

In the 1980s the US was witnessing an epidemic of AIDS in gay men. Being the leader of a gay men's chorus, Seelig actively worked to support the fight against AIDS. The chorale itself lost almost 200 of its member during the epidemic. In 1994, Seelig and his chorus' efforts to cope with the grief brought about by the epidemic was featured in After Goodbye: An AIDS Story, a documentary directed by Ginny Martin. The documentary went on to win twelve awards including an Emmy. [5] [7]

Seelig began teaching voice and vocal pedagogy at the Meadows School for the Arts at Southern Methodist University in 1996. In 1999, Seelig conducted the World's longest choral concert at the Lakewood Theatre in Dallas. The show lasted for twenty hours as celebration of the 20th anniversary of the chorale. It was also a homage to the people the chorale had lost to AIDS. [8]

2003 - 2010

In 2005, the Turtle Creek Chorale was approached to do a follow-up documentary to the 1994 After Goodbye. Seelig agreed and they produced The Power of Harmony about gay marriage, adoption and other important GLBT topics of the time. Seelig's first book The Perfect Blend was published in March 2005 by the Shawnee Press. The book provided vocal technique for choral singers. It included 100 exercises, rehearsal and programming tips as well as tips for vocal health. The book was sold with a CD of the same title. [9] A sequel to the book The Perfect Rehearsal was published by Shawnee Press in August 2007 followed by The Perfect Choral Workbook in November. [4]

After working twenty years at the Turtle Creek Chorale, Seelig stepped down from the position of the conductor in 2007. [10] The same year, The Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) was looking to start a program for an Artistic Director-in-Residence. When he stepped down from Turtle Creek, he was invited by GALA to apply for the program. He applied and was named the first Artist Director-in-Residence of the association. The initial tenure for the program was one year, however, after the completion of the first year, Seelig stayed on for another year. During this time, he visited 40 choruses in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. [11]

After he stepped down from TCC, he was contacted by his friend Reverend Michael Piazza, who was the senior pastor at Cathedral of Hope. Piazza wanted Seelig to join him at a non-profit he had started called Hope for Peace and Justice. Seelig agreed to help him and was selected the director for the program Arts for Peace and Justice. In 2008, he founded Resounding Harmony, a mixed chorus in Dallas that performs with the sole purpose of raising money for non-profit organizations. [11] [3]

Seelig made his fifth appearance at the Carnegie Hall at the Shawnee Press' 70th Anniversary in 2009. In May, he guest conducted the San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus at the Davies Symphony Hall. He also conducted the North American GALA chorus at Southbank Centre in London performing Sing for a Cure – a choral symphony commissioned in coordination with the Susan Komen for the Cure featuring Maya Angelou. [4]

In 2009, Seelig produced An Evening of Hope at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center honoring Maya Angelou on her 80th Birthday. In 2010, through Arts for Peace and Justice, he organized the first Gayther Homecoming, a gala evening of Christian music and songs following the format of Gaither Homecoming, but allowing homosexual people to perform. The original Gaither Homecoming, which started in 1991 does not allow openly homosexual people to perform. The proceeds from the gala were donated to Interfaith Peace Chapel at the COH. [12] In Fall, Seelig served as the guest conductor of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. [4]

2011 - Present

In 2010, Seelig learned that the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus was looking for a conductor. He applied for the job and was selected. He left his job at the Southern Methodist University and Hope for Peace and Justice and relocated to San Francisco. He started as the conductor of the SFGMC in January 2011. [13]

As conductor of the SFGMC, he commissioned Steven Schwartz to compose a piece called Testimony inspired by the It Gets Better project. Testimony received positive reviews and The Huffington Post called it "the It Gets Better anthem." [14] The same year, Seelig also contacted Andrew Lippa to write a five-minute piece about Harvey Milk. Excited by the project, Lippa proposed writing a complete sixty-minute show. [15] Seelig commissioned the work and Lippa wrote I am Harvey Milk, which was premiered as part of the Harvey Milk concert in 2013 to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of SFGMC and Harvey Milk's assassination. [16] [17]

In 2012, Seelig discussed the idea of creating a suite for Tyler Clementi with Schwartz. [18] The two worked together and commissioned eight composers to do eight movements of the story of Clementi. San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus premiered the suite in 2013. [19]

Seelig was invited by the Turtle Creek Chorale to guest conduct and host the 35th anniversary concert of the chorale in 2015. [20] [21] In 2016, SFGMC performed Heartthrobs: Biggest Boy Band Ever directed and conducted by Seelig. [22] [23] The show featured pop music from the 70s and 80s to present day. [24]

In 2016, Seelig presented a master class as part of the summer choral program at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. [25]

In February 2020, Seelig conducted the Kansas Music Educators' Association All-State Mixed Choir.

LGBT issues

In 2013, Seelig and his partner Dan England were contacted by Best Vacations Ever with an offer of attending a time share seminar and getting a discounted vacation to Las Vegas. The couple decided to enroll for the seminar. However, they were told later that the company cannot accept gay couples. Seelig took it to his Facebook and it was then picked up by Towleroad and other media outlets. [26] The company responded by claiming that they allow gay couples in the seminar only if they are co-habitating and that the customer representatives Seelig spoke to misunderstood him. Seelig asked the Best Ever Vacations for a public apology, but there was no further response from the company. [27]



With Turtle Creek Chorale

1990From the Heart
1991When We No Longer Touch
1994United We Sing
A Roamin' Holiday
Everything's Possible
1995Let Music Live
Times of the Day
1996The Gershwin Scrapbook
Simply Christmas
Twisted Turtle Tinsel
1998Lifelong Friend
1999Best of the Turtle Creek Chorale
Sing for the Cure
Song of Wisdom from Old Turtle
Turtle Mix
2001Two Worlds with Buddy Shanahan
Comfort and Joy
Turtle Creek Chorale Recordings Sampler
2002To A Dancing Star
A Testament to Freedom
One World
2004Annie's Songs
The Holy and The Holly
2005Holiday Memories
2006Songs of Our Nation
A Fond Farewell

With Women's Chorus of Dallas

1996Only HumanDirector
1994Our TurnDirector
1997Change of HeartDirector
1998In the MoodDirector
2000American RhapsodyDirector
2002 - 2003Seasons of DreamsDirector


2005The Perfect BlendDVD with Book
2007The Perfect RehearselDVD with Book
2007The Perfect Choral WorkbookDVD with Book
2008Quick FixesDVD with Book

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Choir</span> Ensemble of singers

A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm, hand, and facial gestures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Morten Lauridsen</span> American composer

Morten Johannes Lauridsen is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient (2007), he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994 to 2001, and is the Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he taught for 52 years until his retirement in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David Conte</span> American composer

David Conte is an American composer who has written over 150 works published by E.C. Schirmer, including six operas, a musical, works for chorus, solo voice, orchestra, chamber music, organ, piano, guitar, and harp. Conte has received commissions from Chanticleer, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Harvard University Chorus, the Men’s Glee Clubs of Cornell University and the University of Notre Dame, GALA Choruses from the cities of San Francisco, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., the Dayton Philharmonic, the Oakland Symphony, the Stockton Symphony, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, the American Guild of Organists, Sonoma City Opera, and the Gerbode Foundation. He was honored with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Brock Commission in 2007 for his work The Nine Muses, and in 2016 he won the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Art Song Composition Award for his work American Death Ballads.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert Shaw (conductor)</span> American conductor

Robert Lawson Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He was known for drawing public attention to choral music through his wide-ranging influence and mentoring of younger conductors, the high standard of his recordings, his support for racial integration in his choruses, and his support for modern music, winning many awards throughout his career.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andrew Lippa</span> American composer

Andrew Lippa is an American composer, lyricist, book writer, performer, and producer. He is a resident artist at the Ars Nova Theater in New York City.

The Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses is an international association of LGBT choruses founded in 1982. In its inaugural performance 14 choruses performed together in September 1982 in San Francisco as part of the first Gay Games. It aims to foster artistic and organizational development within its member choruses. The association includes almost 10,000 vocalists in over 100 associated choruses singing as male, female and mixed ensembles in a wide variety of styles. GALA Choruses produces a large festival every four years, in addition to a number of smaller annual workshops and conferences.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turtle Creek Chorale</span> American mens chorus

The Turtle Creek Chorale (TCC) is an American men's chorus located in Dallas, Texas. With 38 recordings and two commercially produced, feature-length motion picture documentaries in public distribution, it is among the most recorded men's choruses in the world.

San Diego Men's Chorus (SDMC) provided entertainment for San Diego, California, during the period of 1985 to 2009. A former member of the Gay & Lesbian Association of Choruses, SDMC performed some of the finest choral literature from a variety of genres. The Chorus offered numerous 'outreach performances' each season, and supported local LGBT organizations and HIV/AIDS organizations in the San Diego area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus</span> Worlds first openly gay mens chorus, credited with creating the LGBT choral movement

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.

Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus (MGLC) was founded in Australia in 1990 by a gay performer and activist, Lawrence McGuire (1966). The chorus was first named 'AL sounds', due to its part affiliation with the Foundation. In April 1994, the name was changed to Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, reflecting the chorus's organizational independence and a desire to further challenge stereotypes.

The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco (LGCSF) was founded in 1980 by Jon Reed Sims (1947–1984). The world's first choral organization to use both "lesbian" and "gay" in its name, LGCSF is dedicated to building and enriching its communities through the universal language of music.

The Community Women's Orchestra (CWO), based in Oakland, California, was founded by conductor Nan Washburn in 1985 as a community adjunct to The Women's Philharmonic (TWP), a now-defunct, professional orchestra.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Bruffy</span> American choral conductor

Charles Bruffy is an American choral conductor. He is artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale in Kansas City, Missouri, and is Chorus Director of the Kansas City Symphony. He lives in Kansas City.

Grant Gershon is a Grammy Award winning American conductor and pianist. He is Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Resident Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera, member of the Board of Councillors for the USC Thornton School of Music and a member of the Chorus America Board of Directors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Masterworks Chorale</span> Choral ensemble based in San Mateo, California

Masterworks Chorale is a choral ensemble based in San Mateo, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Golden Gate Men's Chorus</span> American Mens choir

Golden Gate Men's Chorus (GGMC) is a gay men's chorus founded in 1982 and located in San Francisco. The GGMC is a group of 50 ethnically and socially diverse gay and gay-supportive men, and is dedicated to giving voice to the gay community through song. The GGMC presents spring, summer, and winter programs annually, in addition to numerous guest and community benefit performances throughout the year.

John Reed Sims, was an American choir conductor born in Smith Center, Kansas.

Dr. Kathleen Alison McGuire is a choral and orchestral conductor, arranger, composer, music educator, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Known also for her work with social justice and human rights organizations, from 2000 to 2010 she served as the first female artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus – the world's first openly gay choral organization – and in 2010 she established Singers of the Street: a choir of people affected by homelessness in San Francisco. She became a US citizen in 2011 and in 2013 returned to Australia to serve as director of music at Queen's College and co-artistic director of the School of Hard Knocks. In 2006 she was a grand marshal in the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. Her contributions have officially been recognized by the California Senate and State Assembly, and "Kathleen McGuire Day" was designated twice in her honor by San Francisco mayors Gavin Newsom and Edwin Lee.

<i>Harvey Milk</i> (opera) Opera by Stewart Wallace

Harvey Milk is an American opera with music by Stewart Wallace and libretto by Michael Korie, based on the life and death of the American gay activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was assassinated along with San Francisco mayor George Moscone on 27 November 1978. The opera was originally in 3 acts, and was a joint commission by Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and San Francisco Opera, and received its premiere on 21 January 1995 by Houston Grand Opera. A revised version in 2 acts received its premiere on 11 June 2022 by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.


  1. "Tim Seelig, Conductor & Author on Facebook". Facebook . Archived from the original on 2022-04-30.[ user-generated source ]
  2. 1 2 Crutchfield, Will (4 June 1989). "DEBUTS; 3 Pianists and a Baritone in Recitals". The New York Times .
  3. 1 2 "2008 Conference – Honor Choir Conductors".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Adjarian, M. M. (2010-11-15). "Meet Tim Seelig :: Gay chorus guru". Edge Media Network. Retrieved 2022-09-25.
  5. 1 2 "Dr. Timothy Seelig".
  6. 1 2 "There's Room Under The Bus For All – A Modern-Day Pride Parable".
  7. "Picking up the baton".
  8. "Gay male chorus performs 20-hour music marathon". Amarillo.com. Associated Press. 1999-08-15. Archived from the original on 2016-11-11.
  9. Seelig, Timothy (2005). The Perfect Blend: Seriously Fun Vocal Warm Ups. ISBN   1592350941.
  10. Wilonsky, Robert (2007-07-09). "Tim Seelig's Long Goodbye". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2022-09-25.
  11. 1 2 "Lightning strikes again".
  12. "Gospel according to gays".
  13. "New Gay Men's Chorus leader beefs up vocal muscle". 20 April 2011.
  14. "Timothy Seelig, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Conductor, On Tex-Mex, 'It Gets Better' And Christmas In The Castro (VIDEO)". HuffPost . 24 December 2012.
  15. "New Harvey Milk-inspired piece bows at Strathmore". 21 April 2016.
  16. "'I Am Harvey Milk'". HuffPost . 24 June 2013.
  17. "Different Strokes for Different Folks". HuffPost . 9 July 2013.
  18. "Making 'Suite' music together".
  19. "Seeking solace, solutions in music".
  20. "Let Your Light Shine".
  21. "Turtle Creek Chorale's 35th anniversary concert: The boys are back".
  22. "San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to Become the Ultimate Boy Band Photos courtesy of San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus'". 24 June 2016.
  23. "Heartthrobs: 'Biggest Boy Band Ever". 28 June 2016.
  24. "Well-Strung to Join San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus for 'HEARTTHROBS' During Pride Weekend".
  25. "Idyllwild Arts Summer Program blends media stars with tradition".
  26. "Tim Seelig And Dan England, Gay Couple, Allegedly Denied Vacation Rental Because Of Sexuality". HuffPost . 2 November 2013.
  27. "Vacation Discrimination: An interview with Dr. Tim Seelig".