San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Debuts Stephen Schwartz’s New Work “Testimony” on YouTube

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On March 22nd - Award-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, in cooperation with Dan Savage, co-founder of the "It Gets Better Project," release latest musical work to on-line fanbase.

Stephen Schwartz’s new work “Testimony,” inspired by texts from the It Gets Better Project, makes its debut at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on March 20 and 21, 2012.

Written and performed by the 275 members of San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), the original composition is a labor of intense love and passion. Schwartz’s artistry weaves beautiful music with gripping and hopeful lyrics based on texts from the It Gets Better Project. It Gets Better Project co-founder, Dan Savage, worked with Schwartz as he created “Testimony.”

Following the concerts, “Testimony” makes its debut on-line at 10:00 a.m. March 22 on the SFGMC website and on the SFGMC YouTube channel

“I liked using the words of the people who contributed to the ‘It Gets Better Project,'” said Schwartz. “So 'Testimony' is quite authentic in terms of what’s being expressed and then I just set it musically.”

Having filmed the piece just a few weeks ago, SFGMC was thrilled to have Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Leslie Ann Jones on deck for the session at Skywalker Sound. The making of the video would not have been possible without the tremendous work of a corps of volunteers who donated hundreds of hours of their time. The resulting video is a magnificent message of hope for anyone that has ever been in a place of hopelessness - particularly teens that are or have been in the dark well of despair. The message is that it gets more than better and it is the hope of SFGMC that the video will change lives as it is viewed all over the world in the days, weeks and years to come.

Inspired by "Testimony," many SFGMC members started an initiative to reach out to their former high schools. Over fifty chorus members will purchase extra copies of the DVD and send them to their high school alma maters, so that those who are discovering their own identities now as teens, can do so with greater freedom and hope.

Artistic Director and Conductor of San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Dr. Tim Seelig says, “In four decades of conducting and commissioning new choral works, ‘Testimony’ is one of the most profound works of choral art I have ever experienced. We can never adequately express our gratitude to Stephen Schwartz for what he has given to us and to the world. If one person is moved and ultimately changed by these words, all of our work will have been worth it.”

The video is available for viewing beginning March 22nd at 10am on and http://www.YouTube/SFGMCVideo. Versions will also be available on iTunes audio and video. A limited edition DVD is available for sale at and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.

About Stephen Schwartz:
Stephen Schwartz has contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker’s Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Rags, Children of Eden, My Fairytale, and the current Broadway hit, Wicked. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein’s Mass and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies Are Free. For children, he has written songs for two musicals, Captain Louie and My Son Pinocchio. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney’s Enchanted as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. He has released two CDs of new songs entitled Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory. His first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered with Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2009 and was recently produced by New York City Opera. A book about his career, “Defying Gravity,” has recently been released by Applause Books. Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs musical theatre workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and is currently the President of the Dramatists’ Guild. Mr. Schwartz has recently been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies.

About the It Gets Better Project:
The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone—and it WILL get better.

About San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus:
Founded in 1978 as the first Chorus to have the word “Gay” in its name, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus strives to inspire its audience, members and the world through high-quality choral experiences. In addition to a home season of three annual subscription productions in San Francisco, the Chorus performs at public and private venues throughout the Bay Area including annual hospice caroling and performances for bay area communities where concert proceeds directly benefit local non-profits. Under the current leadership of artistic director and conductor Dr. Tim Seelig, the chorus has nearly doubled to its current size of 275 singers and has increased the number of concerts in its 2011-12 concert season. More history of the SFGMC.

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