Historical Timeline


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.


1979 - 1988

September 1979
First rehearsal held for Seattle Men’s Chorus


Spring 1980
First official SMC concert, Museum of History and Industry

Spring 1980
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

first emerald city volunteers ensemble.jpgJune 1982
Small ensemble, Emerald City Volunteers, debuts, with Dennis as conductor

March 1982
Small ensemble, Philandros, 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

with Diane Schurr 1988.jpgMarch 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

December 1987
SMC premieres “My Christmas,” a commission from Gian Carlo Menotti

December 1987
First televised edition of an SMC holiday concert, airing on KTZZ


1989 - 1998

March 1989
SMC performs with guest artist, famed Opera singer, Tatiana Troyanos 

July 1989
3rd Festival of GALA Choruses held in Seattle

March 1990
First CD and cassette is released, Over the Rainbow

First full-time admin staff hired

March 1990
SMC concert tour to Dallas and Boston

March 1990
Spring concert, Radio Craze, is taped for broadcast by local PBS station KCTS

Radio_Craze.jpgSeptember 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

HarveyFierstein with SMC 1993 Swellegant Elegance.jpgJune 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

June 1994
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


1999 - 2008

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

approved children's concert photo.JPGSpring 2000
The Chorus debuts the annual free concert for children

June 2000
SMC with guest artist. Tony and Emmy-winner, Nell Carter

June 2000
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

DSC_0006.JPGDecember 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

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

RockiesTourDay04_009.jpgJuly 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 & Peggy Platt, who will become long-time collaborators

December 2007
SMC performs with Grammy and Tony-winner, Jennifer Holliday


2009 - Today

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

on stage wedding 2 Dec 2012.jpg

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

IMG_4144.JPGJune 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

Paul Unveiled

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