The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ “Home for the Holidays” concerts, which through 21 years have been known for their merriment, are likely to be even more lively and sentimental today than they have in past decades.
Three sold-out shows at the Castro Theatre will be especially soulful in that Artistic Director Kathleen McGuire will take her place at the podium for the last time.
“We’re pulling out all the stops,” says McGuire, who is leaving the post after more than a decade on the job. (Timothy Seelig, former director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, an acclaimed gay men’s chorus based in Dallas, takes over on Jan. 1.)
Promising to “raise the roof with a stirring celebration that will bring the house down,” the lineup includes Whitney Houston’s version of “Joy to the World,” a take on “Sleigh Ride” that “zooms through traditional sacred and secular favorites,” a gospel carols singalong, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and the New Year’s classic “Auld Lang Syne.”
Another fun element of the show is the “conduct-the-chorus” auction. The person who makes the highest bid gets to lead the group for a number.
Special guests this year include Karen Hart and Donna Sachet at all three performances, along with the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco at the final show at 9 p.m. A musical tribute will follow.
“We’ll be singing ‘Irish Blessing’ to Kathleen,” says Michael Tate, SFGMC board president.
The song, which McGuire has conducted many times throughout her tenure with the chorus, begins: “May the road rise up to meet you / May the wind be always at your back.”
Tate says, “We could think of no more fitting way to wish her a fond farewell.”
IF YOU GO
Home for the Holidays
Presented by San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco
When: 5, 7 and 9 p.m. today
Tickets: $20 to $30
Contact: (415) 865-2787, www.sfgmc.org