San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) announces the hiring of its new Artistic Director, Dr. Charles Beale (he/him/his). Dr. Beale will join SDGMC in April of 2022 for the chorus’s Pride concert in July.
The renowned Dr. Beale is an international choral director, jazz educator, composer-arranger, and author, with a unique approach to activist choral singing. A passionate campaigner for stylistic diversity within choral singing, Dr. Beale comes to SDGMC with over 20 years of experience with GALA Choruses (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses), has been the Artistic Director of the London Gay Men’s Chorus from 2002-2007, and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) from 2007-2019. He presently serves on the GALA Choruses’ Board of Directors and Chair of External Relations Committee and serves on the Board’s Education and Networking Committee.
Dr. Beale is the founder and current President of the Global Alliance of Queer Choirs, a new choral organization that brings a global perspective to the LGBTIQ+ choral movement. When asked about his background in this choral movement and his reaction to coming to San Diego, Dr. Beale remarked, “I couldn’t be more delighted to be starting a new artistic journey with SDGMC this April. They are a chorus with a long and proud history of the community through song, and one it is a great honor to lead. LGBTIQ+ choruses continue to play a unique and crucial role in queer activism, both in the choral movement of the US and around the world, and I believe SDGMC can be an artistically exciting and innovative voice in our relentless campaign for equality and social justice for all.”
Dr. Beale is a powerful voice in the queer choral movement, and in turbulent and uncertain times such as we find ourselves in today, he is especially passionate about music as a way to unify, heal and bring people together.
“I am very excited that Charlie is joining us for the next chapter in SDGMC’s history,” said Jeff Heine, Executive Director of SDGMC. “I have had the opportunity to work with Charlie over the years during our mutual work with GALA Choruses. I am thrilled that he will be joining us here at SDGMC as its new artistic director. His enthusiasm and talent will take our Chorus to even greater heights.”
Dr. James Marshall, President of the SDGMC Board, remarked, “Dr. Beale brings an incredible resume of music-related experience in LGBTIQ+ organizations and beyond. Our chorus finds itself at a unique crossroads as we come out of the pandemic and renew our commitments to musical excellence and being a voice for positive change. Charlie is our ideal match for artistic leadership, as we navigate this unparalleled time in history and work to address the chorus’ needs and realize our community-focused aspirations.”
Under Dr. Beale’s leadership of NYCGMC, the chorus expanded to 300 singers, achieved strong commercial success, and remains recognized for its innovative, entertaining, and impactful performances. During his time with NYCGMC, he amassed a library of over 200 arrangements in all styles for TTBB chorus, and he is an award-winning arranger in jazz and choral music. A leading innovator in the field, he also penned the chapter on LGBTIQ+ choral singing in the recent Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy.
As Chair of the GALA Choruses’ External Relations Committee, he currently leads a global alliance of choral leaders that present festivals and share best practices across the queer choral movement. In Spring 2020, he returned from a four-month sabbatical tour of Southeast Asia and Australia, which included workshops, presentations, performances, and meetings across the region, and events in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Manila, Ubud (Bali), Sydney, and the Out and Loud Festival in Canberra, Australia.
During the pandemic lockdown and subsequent gradual re-opening, Dr. Beale focused on writing, teaching, Board work, and consultancy. He is presently finishing work on a major pedagogical book aimed at both GALA member choruses and mainstream choirs, it proposes a unique activist approach to all choral singing and offers practical strategies to enable any choir to make positive change across the community it serves.
He has long relationships with several choirs around the world, including the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Coro Gay Ciudad de México and the Sydney Lesbian and Gay Choir. He worked with an all-Australia LGBTQ+ chorus of 200 in Summer 2013.
Dr. Beale received his Master’s Degree in Music at Trinity Hall with post-graduate work at Homerton College, both of the University of Cambridge. He received his Masters-level Performing Diploma in jazz, piano and composition from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He received his Doctorate in Music Education from the Institute of Education at London University.
More information about Dr. Charles Beale can be found on his official website at www.charliebeale.com.