31 Days of Happiness Countdown: A gay chorus tours the South. (Day 18)
Thanks for stopping by Day 18 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note, with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow for another installment!
Picture this: 300 smiling gay men storming through the small-town South, waving rainbow flags and singing their hearts out. That's exactly the vision Tim Seelig, artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC), had in mind.
Several years ago, Seelig was the associate minister of music at a prominent church in Houston. Then, he came out as gay and his life was turned upside-down overnight.
Now, Seelig returned to the Christian church in the South — and he brought his 300-person chorus with him. Boy, it was a sight to see.
Inspired by Trump's shocking election, the SFGMC canceled its plans for a European tour and decided to head down South instead.
Through breathtaking performances in churches, public venues, and on college campuses, the chorus wanted to do more than just perform — they wanted to spark social change in areas of the country where it's desperately needed most. By all measures, they succeeded.
"A lot of times in more conservative places like the South, for example, this sort of thing can instill hope in people who don't have that," explained Ali Massoud, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
You can read all about my wild experience covering the tour, but sometimes the extraordinary sights and sounds of a story simply can't be captured in text. Here's an incredible video highlighting the SFGMC's tour through the Deep South: