USFer in Historic Performance

300-member Gay Men’s Chorus to sing, celebrate 40th anniversary at St. Ignatius

By ARVIN TEMKAR, USF NEWS Posted Fri, 10/26/2018 - 09:08

Dave Andrade ’11 is part of The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, which has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and other renowned venues around the world. But the famed group has never sung at St. Ignatius Church — until now. 

In 1981 the chorus was scheduled to perform at the church, until the San Francisco archbishop at the time cancelled the show, claiming the performance could be misinterpreted as the church approving of homosexuality.

Now, for its 40th anniversary, the 300-strong chorus will finally sing at the church Oct. 26.

USF News caught up with Andrade to talk about his musical journey and the historic show.

How do you feel about being part of this historic performance?
It’s incredibly heartening to see unlikely bridges being built between two groups that have historically been at odds with one another, and to know that music can have the profound effect of healing age-old wounds and turning once-enemies into allies.

When did you join the Gay Men's Chorus? 
I joined in January 2015, which was just a little over one year after I came out of the closet on Christmas Day 2013. Still in the infancy of my “new life” as an openly gay man, I was longing to finally start making connections with my “tribe,” and I could think of no better way than joining a chorus of nearly 300 other gay men who all shared my same passion for choral music.

Singing was a major part of your USF experience. Tell us more.
Initially, singing was just an extracurricular activity that helped me decompress from the stresses of working part-time while pursuing my (Business Administration) double-major in accounting and finance. But it grew from a pastime to a passion: I ended up singing in all five of the ASUSF Voices ensembles and eventually served as both the business manager and assistant musical director. I also minored in music.

I even continued to rehearse and perform with the ensembles for a little while after I graduated!

You fit music into your work life as well?
I work as a data manager for Dolby’s intellectual property protection team.

Many employees of Dolby have a musical background of some sort. For the past several years, about 20 or so of us have gotten together on our lunch breaks during November and early December to rehearse a cappella holiday musicand perform during our annual holiday party as “The DolbyTones.”

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