Our longtime Artistic Interpreter, Kevin Gallagher, celebrates his 35th year in the chorus and he has chosen this milestone to retire, following the final Silver & Soul concert.
What is your proudest moment in your 35 years with the Chorus?
I want to say almost every minute was a source of pride to me. And in saying that I mean the moments we were on stage, each time, were a reflection of the times. There was power and poignancy in the first few seasons as we tended to represent more gay pride and community – it was as if Capitol Hill of the early 80s all drove down to UW’s Meany Hall and gathered to share time together, all our disparate yet connected selves. Then for years were the AIDS moments – singing “Eulogy,” losing members, dreading reading the weekly newsletter as we learned of someone’s passing, preparing for memorial services, embracing our sisters (lesbians) and straight allies who came forward to stand beside us. Next, greater integration into the larger community as our reputation for offering a concert not to be missed cultivated more friends and families to attend. Our new signs of success: KTZZ Holiday specials on TV, CD recordings, up to 12 concerts in December, tours to Eastern Washington, Oceania, Europe and to some of our brother choruses in the U.S. - what pride in these accomplishments! Marriage equality came closer and we actively responded in our programming. Now we embrace a new chapter of chorus legacy and growth. All of those moments were spectacular and proud, especially from this vantage point of looking back upon them.
My life now is deeply and profoundly impacted by my membership in the Seattle Men’s Chorus. Who I am and whom I know have both been elevated by being with the chorus.
If you were to choose a favorite song performed by the Chorus, what would it be and why?
“Never Ever” from Naked Man, a stunning piece of music for the times it was written, yet still timeless. So beautiful in its reminding the listener to attend to each moment we are given – never ever, will we have this moment, with these people. It chokes me up EVERY time I hear it. To perform it I am swelled with its proud power. I chose it as the song for our guests to listen to after our wedding ceremony. We were married on Halloween 2014; after the ceremony we sat and faced our friends while this song played. It called us to revel in the magic of the accomplishment as two people and as gay people who were finally given this moment of equality.
How does the mission of the Choruses speak to you?
We are not alone, we’ve never been alone we will never be alone. It is our purpose as an organization, as a community, as citizens to know our place in the greater context and honor and celebrate what we bring to the table. It is a relationship across the stage lights. As we take care of each other in our membership ranks, let us also take care of you, our audience, in our way. Thank you to the audience for taking care of us by choosing to spend your precious money and even more precious time with us.
What do you see as the future for the Choruses and the LGBTQ community?
I hope the Choruses continue to serve our intimate LGTBQ community in programming and outreach. We came to exist as a connected community linked by music and we elevated each other in the process. In our success we moved beyond being a niche entity (gays for gays!) and now serve our larger audience – our extended family and friends and friends we’ve not yet met. What magic to touch hearts in reinforcement, comfort, challenge and love in music. Music as the salve for good times and times of struggle.
What will you miss most about the Choruses?
Brotherhood and sisterhood. For the men, it’s the weekly dose of testosterone (ha!) – those rooms full of us whether it is rehearsal or performance – heart magic. The caring conversations and check-ins, the flirty comments, the hugs, the thoughtful comments that mattered to me even if the speaker didn’t realize it was just what I needed, the brilliant wit, the wisdom and intelligence. It’s like a 3-hour gay camp for grown-ups every Monday.
For the women, it is the knowledge of their presence beside, behind and in front of us. The intimacy of shared performance-hood and the related fun, new songs, reflective commentary and conversations from a woman’s perspective. The kind and supportive faces, hugs and relationship of our shared experience tickle my heart.
What’s up next for you?
I am leaving myself and my schedule open to whatever. I am a thoughtful opportunist – if something looks good and the time seems right, I jump in. Presently, I want to expand my work in education – in addition to full-time teaching kindergarten I also work with teaching interns, new career teachers, etc. and LOVE it. Simply having more time will allow me to focus on improving my German and Spanish languages. I really need to watch some movies and TV – I watched all 7 seasons of Breaking Bad only last year! More time for my family and friends here in Washington, NY/NJ and Germany will be a lovely present to myself; I greatly look forward to that most of all.