History

Founded in 1979

Our organization has a rich history: the founding of two choruses and half a dozen vocal ensembles, bringing a voice to the AIDS epidemic, touring nationally and internationally, singing for marriage equality, recording sixteen CDs, debuting and commissioning dozens of original works, welcoming countless guest artists, and opening the hearts and minds of the communities in which we live, work, and visit.

September 1979

First rehearsal held for Seattle Men’s Chorus
Spring 1980

Spring 1980

First official SMC concert, Museum of History and Industry (pictured)

First Small Ensemble, Gentlemen’s Harmony League, debuts

December 1980

First performance at Meany Theater, which becomes SMC’s regular concert venue

May 1981

Dennis Coleman becomes SMC’s third conductor

September 1981

SMC’s first appearance at Bumbershoot

December 1981

First official SMC holiday concert, Don We Now

February 1982

First out-of-town performance (Portland, Oregon), a joint concert with Portland Gay Men’s Chorus

March 1982

Small ensemble, Philandros, debuts, with Dennis as conductor
June 1982

June 1982

Small ensemble, Emerald City Volunteers, debuts, with Dennis as conductor

September 1982

First West Coast Gay/Lesbian Choral Festival in conjunction with 1st Gay Games, San Francisco

June 1983

First SMC member dies of AIDS

July 1983

GALA Choruses is incorporated with SMC as a founding member organization

September 1983

First National Festival of GALA Choruses: Come Out And Sing Together (C.O.A.S.T.), New York City

March 1984

First guest composer/artist, Ned Rorem

December 1984

SMC performs with guest artist Marni Nixon

June 1985

SMC premieres The Cricket Sings, commissioned from Conrad Susa

December 1985

SMC performs their first commission, “Praise Thy Saving Power” by Samuel Adler, co-commissioned with other GALA choruses in 1984

March 1986

Lou Harrison commission (and premiere) with Mark Morris Dance Group
March 1987

March 1987

SMC performs with Grammy Award-winning guest artist, Diane Schuur

Fall 1987

First issue of Chorus Quarterly, an organizational news publication

December 1987

First corporate sponsor, Hawaiian Airlines

SMC premieres “My Christmas,” a commission from Gian Carlo Menotti

First televised edition of an SMC holiday concert, airing on KTZZ

March 1989

SMC performs with guest artist, famed Opera singer Tatiana Troyanos

July 1989

3rd Festival of GALA Choruses held in Seattle

1990

First full-time admin staff hired

March 1990

First CD and cassette is released, Over the Rainbow

SMC concert tour to Dallas and Boston

Spring concert, Radio Craze, is taped for broadcast by local PBS station KCTS

September 1990

Radio Craze airs nationally on PBS, with one out of every six households in Western Washington and British Columbia tuning in

July 1990

SMC participates in the massed choir performing at the Opening Ceremony for the Goodwill Games at Husky Stadium, conducted by Dennis Coleman

March 1991

SMC premieres “Of Rage and Remembrance,” a choral setting of the third movement of John Corigliano’s First Symphony

July 1992

SMC opens for Natalie Cole

January 1993

SMC performs with guest artist Bobby McFerrin, 10-time Grammy winner

March 1993

SMC premieres “Why?,” by David Diamond, commissioned with four other GALA choruses
June 1993

June 1993

SMC’s Swellegant Elegance with Harvey Fierstein (also taped for broadcast by local PBS station KCTS)

September 1993

Swellegant Elegance airs nationally on PBS

June 1994

SMC performs with poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou

SMC travels to NYC for Stonewall 25 and performs at Carnegie Hall

June 1995

SMC with guest artist Ann Hampton Callaway

June 1996

SMC with guest artist Michael Feinstein

Summer 1998

First international tour to Barcelona, Amsterdam, and London

September 1998

SMC participates in the inauguration of Benaroya Hall and becomes one of its principal tenants

March 1999

SMC commissions and premieres “Michael’s letter to Mama” with Armistead Maupin, based on the text from his groundbreaking series, Tales of the City

October 1999

First outreach concert, Boise, Idaho
Spring 2000

Spring 2000

The Chorus debuts the annual free concert for children

June 2000

SMC with guest artist, Tony and Emmy-winner Nell Carter

SMC with guest artist, Emmy-winner Megan Mullally

Summer 2000

Dennis Coleman is honored with the GALA Choruses Legacy Award

Spring 2001

SMC performs at Governor Gary Locke’s Inaugural Ball

May 2001

SMC with guest artist Rosemary Clooney

June 2001

SMC with guest artist Kristin Chenoweth in Sing for the Cure, a song-cycle in celebration of survivors of breast cancer. SMC is joined by 100 women vocalists from the community.

September 2001

SMC performs for American Airlines and United Airlines in a memorial service for the 9/11 victims

May 2002

GALA Choruses Western Regional Chorus Festival in Seattle

September 2002

First rehearsal of the newly formed Seattle Women’s Chorus
December 2002

December 2002

Seattle Women’s Chorus makes its debut with a performance during the SMC holiday concert, Snowglobe

February 2003

SMC’s Auz Z tour to New Zealand and Australia

April 2003

Seattle Women’s Chorus holds their first solo concert, Genesis

April 2004

SWC shares the stage in Seattle and Portland with Aurora Chorus

June 2004

Out on Broadway, a tribute to gay creators of musical theatre, co-commissioned from Terrence McNally with NYCGMC

July 2004

SWC makes their GALA debut at the festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

September 2004

Sensible Shoes, an ensemble of SWC, is formed

2005

SWC releases first CD, Winternight Journeys

March 2005

Debut of small SMC ensemble, Ædonis

April 2005

SWC performs with guest artist Lesley Gore, in It’s Our Party

May 2005

Joint venture with The 5th Avenue Theatre, a concert version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with guest artists, Lucy Lawless and Tony-winner, Faith Prince
July 2006

July 2006

SMC & SWC take their first joint tour, This Land is Our Land, to the Rocky Mountain states

December 2006

SWC performs with guest artists Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt, who will become long-time collaborators

December 2007

SMC performs with Grammy and Tony-winner Jennifer Holliday

March 2009

SMC performs with guest artist Debbie Reynolds

June 2010

First joint concert of SMC and SWC, Glitter and Be Gay

September 2010

Dennis Coleman receives the Mayor’s Arts Award

February 2011

SWC with guest artist Kathy Najimy

October 2011

SWC with guest artist, country music sensation, Chely Wright

June 2011

The Pride Foundation establishes a choral conducting scholarship, funded by Chorus members and donors, in Dennis’ name to honor his 30th anniversary as SMC conductor

September and October 2012

SMC and SWC tour Voices United for Marriage, a free concert, to five cities in Washington, in support of referendum 74 to legalize same sex marriage in the state. The first two same-sex marriages were performed on stage at Benaroya Hall.

April 2013

SMC with guest artist, Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan

February 2014

SWC performs their original musical, We Can Do It, commissioned from Associate Artistic Director, Eric Lane Barnes
June 2015

June 2015

SWC and SMC perform at the federal courthouse in Seattle, celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized marriage equality nationwide

February 2016

SWC releases its second CD, How Sweet the Sound

April 2016

Captain Smartypants and Sensible Shoes perform with Broadway star Patti LuPone at the Edmonds Center for the Arts

June 2016

SMC and SWC sing at a candle light vigil memorializing the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando

July 2016

SWC performs We Can Do It at the GALA Festival in Denver, streamed live online internationally

August 2016

Dennis Coleman retires after 35 years with the Choruses. August 8, 2016 is declared “Dennis Coleman Day” by the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray
September 2016

September 2016

Paul Caldwell begins his tenure as Artistic Director

April 2017

Singers from the Washington Middle School Chorus perform at McCaw Hall with SMC and SWC, the culmination of the company’s first educational engagement program

May 2017

SMC makes it debut with Seattle Symphony in Broadway Rocks!

June 2018

SWC and SMC perform the National Anthem at Safeco Field for the Mariners’ Pride Night

December 2018

The Supertonics, our first mixed-voice ensemble with singers from both choruses, makes it debut

October 2019

SMC and SWC perform at ECHOES: A Tribute Concert Benefiting the AIDS Memorial Pathway

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