SAN DIEGO -- On the last day of December, the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus (SDGMC) introduced RC Haus as its interim artistic director, tasked immediately with conducting the chorus’ spring performance of "Wow! The Chorus Sings the '90s."
With a 30-year track record, SDGMC has become a landmark in San Diego entertainment. Moree than 200 singing and crew members contribute to making it the renowned group that it is today. The group consistently provides a fan-favorite musical experience, combined with an overwhelming advocacy for community support and social change.
Considering SDGMC’s presence in the community, it’s no surprise San Diego Gay & Lesbian News received so many inquiries about the new face of the chorus. We had the privilege of speaking with RC about his involvement and potential growth with the chorus.
Hometown: Benicia, Calif.
Single or taken: Engaged
How many years have you been in San Diego? 13
How long have you been active in SDGMC, and how did you first get involved?
I first became a part of SDGMC in 2010 when San Diego's two gay male choruses merged. With the combined numbers and resources, they brought me in as the assistant artistic director. I served in that capacity until I became the Rancho Santa Fe School District's Music Program Director. And now I'm back directing SDGMC's new show in April full of incredible music from my favorite decade — the '90s!
What musicians, across any era or genre, inspire you in your art and why?
Music can be of great inspiration and interest to me. As long as it touches me, I'm good with it — from an atonal modern piece to masters like Beethoven and Mozart.
I also enjoy the simplicity of bluegrass, blues and gospel for its emotional connection to not only my personal history, but the history of our culture. Jazz, country, pop, big band, dance, it's all good. I don't think anything will move me as deeply as black and Southern gospel. Those were the musical genres of my childhood and youth.
As the new head of SDGMC, do you have any big plans for the chorus? Do you have any plans for growth or innovation?
SDGMC is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Much has changed in those 30 years when most Americans knew nothing about the LGBT community other than the fear and ravages of AIDS. But now, thirty years later, we have fought for rights, understanding, inclusion, and respect. Now we are a vibrant, diverse, and important segment of life in America.
For me, that means that all LGBT organizations have to understand and adapt to the growth, change, and maturity of our own community. Thirty years ago, gay choruses took to the stages of small auditoriums and a few brave churches all across America to be among the first public and visible presence of a gay community. But now our community has matured. Our music, concerts, and programs need to reflect the growth, strength, and maturity of our community. We will always push the line, but my goal is to be the best sounding and most highly respected choral group in town.
I would also love to see the chorus reach 250 men within a couple of years. We have almost doubled already since last year. In addition, as our organization grows, we are looking to have other smaller groups that can meet more needs in our community besides the large chorus: a cappella groups, barbershop, chamber chorale, dance team, etc.
Trivia time. What is something we/readers don’t know about you and should?
I am the father of five children: the oldest is a soldier serving in Afghanistan, and the youngest is 12, in middle school here in San Diego.
What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?
I absolutely adore our LGBT community. We are at the point that it is difficult to make any broad, sweeping descriptions of our community because we are just so broad. I think if I had to say something, I would just continue to appeal for all LGBT to be honest and "out" with who they are at all times.
There are still many people who are not "out" at their jobs, their family holiday gatherings, their communities of faith. The only way we will eventually be respected and given the dignity we deserve is by refusing to accept anything less. I often say, "If all the straight people at your job have pictures of their loved ones on their desks, why don't we?"
What do you like most about the local LGBT community?
Our diversity. We have LGBT churches, softball leagues, choruses, surfing clubs, hiking groups, family associations, and more. I love that increasingly it's not about the "L, G, B, T," but what else our lives are defined by that unite us.
What occupies your social life other than the SDGMC?
Being a great dad to my kids and an even better partner to my husband to be!
If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
I would love to have Warren Buffet, Dolly Parton and the Apostle Paul at my dinner party. I need some great investment tips and strategies from Buffet. I have adored Dolly Parton from the time I was a child. I have always been fascinated with the writings and mind of the Apostle Paul. I have much to discuss with him.