Spring Concert Speaks to Individuality, Personal Discovery

'Metamorphosis' connects Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus to its audience

Members of the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus relax and enjoy a rehearsal April 23 for this weekend's "Born This Way" spring concert at Palm Springs High School's auditorium.

Michelle Roe

Music has always spoken to Robert Seeley.

But even the artistic director of the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus had to stop himself when he looked at the notes on the sheets of music and saw them as life-connecting dots.

“I look at the pages sometimes, and think ‘Who wrote this?’ – it is very special for me to conduct,” Seeley said.

“Metamorphosis” is written and composed by Seeley with lyrics by his partner, Robert Espindola (pictured left, Espindola is on the left), in a wondrous arrangement reflecting the “complex journey of a butterfly's emergence from darkness to become a beautiful creature,” Seeley said.

The piece is the cornerstone to this weekend’s spring concert, “Born This Way”, at Palm Springs High School’s auditorium. Show times are 8 Saturday night (April 27) and 3 p.m. Sunday (April 28).

While “Metamorphosis” has toured many cities, the desert premier marks the first time Seeley will conduct his own arrangement accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra.

Seeley has always listened to the song from the audience, and now, given this opportunity to conduct the ensemble, he modestly responded, “As a musician, this is how I express myself… through music. It is a gift and it comes from my heart. This piece has been life affirming.”

“Metamorphosis” was originally commissioned by the Minnesota Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus to explore how life’s ups and downs and society's influence can affect a person growing up gay. As part of that effort, Seeley and Espindola interviewed more than 100 gay men and their families to draw upon their experiences in the creation of a musical journey of acceptance.

The story, expressed through soulful musical composition and sung with heartfelt vocals by the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus (PSGMC), shows “how beginning in the womb and continued growth experiences and struggles as gay individuals, we celebrate who we are today,” said David Sanchez, choral member and president of the PSGMC board.

Sanchez said the theme seems to connect with a wider audience because it relates to individuals and their own personal discovery.

“We want to share our understanding of the struggles that gay men and women have gone through to become successful individuals in our great community,” Sanchez said. “But this is also a celebration, not just of the gay movement, but for humanity as we all should be encouraged to say ‘I am who and what I am’.”

The program envelops a diverse audience from its start with an opening series of upbeat iconic gay-themed songs.

“Most people can relate to these because they’ve grown up with them or at least heard of them,” Sanchez said. “They are fun songs to inspire everyone. They resonate beyond the gay community and move people to look past their issues and move forward to celebrate people for who they are.”

Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” is not only a featured song but fits alongside “Metamorphosis” because her song basically says, "Get over it…you were born this way and you can’t change it,” Sanchez said.

Tickets are available to purchase online for $50, $35 and $25 and will also be available at the door for $55, $40 and $30. For more information, visit www.psgmc.com/home.

Listen to a concert preview.

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