DiscoverLGBTQ (Non Fiction)

Tale of Two Tims

By

Must read 🏆

A Tale of Two Tims: Seelig weaves together the charm of Maupin, the humor of Shores, and the political activism of Jones in a moving memoir.

Synopsis

Dr. Tim Seelig has lived two completely separate lives. During his first 35 years, he rose to lofty pinnacles of success as an opera singer as well as a Southern Baptist music minister. He performed on the great stages of the world. He was a University professor, father and husband.

To his many admirers, everything seemed perfect.

Then, at the age of 35, his Jericho walls came tumblin’ down when he was outed to his family and church of 22,000 members. He lost everything. This was in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis. He buried hundreds of friends and had to face his own positive diagnosis.

The subsequent 34 years have been spent building a new life as an LGBTQ and AIDS activist through music. The book describes his life as grand opera with a little Opryland thrown in along the way.

The awards and honors have been many, from an Emmy to placement at the top of the Billboard and iTunes charts. He even made the Guinness Book of World Records and carried the 1996 Olympic torch.

While challenges continue—most recently, his beloved daughter died suddenly—music remains a constant, along with the love and life's lessons. And always humor.

His memoir offers readers a front row seat to Seelig's many lives: Younger son of the prominent Texas Baptist Seelig family, a musician abroad, husband to first Vicki and later to "Don England, best ex-husband a man could ever have," father of Corianne and Judson, leader of the Turtle Creek Chorale, retired grandfather, and finally the artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC).


The story's underpinnings and consistent theme is of his life in the church and how he woke up to the damage the Baptist church has caused many. We see his visits with various Christian counselors and how they betrayed his trust. His own biological family members struggle in their own ways, but despite his fears, they do eventually come around in their own ways. Not only does he find his place in his biological family, but he also finds his "logical family" (to use a phrase he borrows from his friend Maupin).


Seelig isn't easy on himself. He's candid in his discussion of his first failed marriage, of how naive he was about the AIDS crisis in the beginning (even as the director of a gay chorus), and of how he feels he failed his children. However, the author never portrays himself as a victim. Instead, he presents those moments as seized opportunities, providing us with examples and life strategies we can use.


The book allows Seelig to minister in ways he never could have imagined as a young boy in Texas. Anyone who came out later in life can relate to the struggle he faced in ending his first marriage and coming out. Ultimately, his story is one of self-discovery and self-identification. Just as being a Seelig was not the entire key to his life and identity, neither was his job as a conductor--even though he continues to lead the artistic vision of the SFGMC. His story is one of constantly letting go of what doesn't work and embracing what does. And as Tim evolves, so does his family and the world around him. As he says near the end:


It's more than okay to love yourself.


With a voice as charming as Amistead Maupin's and as humorous as that of fellow Texan Del Shores, Seelig shares a life story as embedded in activism as that of Cleve Jones. The artful weaving of his life events with his beloved music and LGBTQIA+ milestones make this a must read.


Reviewed by

Angelic Rodgers lives in L.A. (Lower Arkansas) with her wife, two unruly cats, and two codependent dogs. Elegant Freefall is her fourth novel.

You can keep up with her at www.angelicrodgers.com and on social media (contact points are on her site).

Synopsis

Dr. Tim Seelig has lived two completely separate lives. During his first 35 years, he rose to lofty pinnacles of success as an opera singer as well as a Southern Baptist music minister. He performed on the great stages of the world. He was a University professor, father and husband.

To his many admirers, everything seemed perfect.

Then, at the age of 35, his Jericho walls came tumblin’ down when he was outed to his family and church of 22,000 members. He lost everything. This was in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis. He buried hundreds of friends and had to face his own positive diagnosis.

The subsequent 34 years have been spent building a new life as an LGBTQ and AIDS activist through music. The book describes his life as grand opera with a little Opryland thrown in along the way.

The awards and honors have been many, from an Emmy to placement at the top of the Billboard and iTunes charts. He even made the Guinness Book of World Records and carried the 1996 Olympic torch.

While challenges continue—most recently, his beloved daughter died suddenly—music remains a constant, along with the love and life's lessons. And always humor.

Chapter 1

My Life:

Grand Opera in Two Acts

A baby was born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in Fort Worth, Texas. The father seemed happy about the birth. The mother was extra happy, thanks to the C-section. Big brother, not so much. But, alas, something was wrong. The light- ing? The outfit? The big brother who probably taunted the precious baby when the parents turned their heads? Perhaps the baby boy sensed the disappointment that he was not “Katy,” the hoped-for girl who was to have been named for the maternal grandmother.

Regardless of the reason, the newborn cried for two years. Perhaps he was a tiny, red-faced soothsayer seeing a glimpse of the future, the grand opera that, in two thirty-five-year-each acts, was just beginning. It was the start of a wild life full of “you can’t make this up” moments, just like opera.

I set my sail toward opera land, with a good dose of Opryland thrown in. The decision was made for me by some opera director in the sky. He/she also decided what kind of opera it would be and what role I would play. My voice, temperament, and body type suited the lighter opera buffa, or comic operas, specifically Mozart. There’s lots of tomfoolery, fun, and even some gender- bending roles. How delightful! Yes, please.

But no, the regisseur (the “big cheese”) ignored opera buffa and chose verismo for the libretto of my life.

Verismo marks a period when opera composers started getting real, writing about daily life. The stories got gritty and dramatic—and explicit. Most are in four acts. That’s a lot of Tim. That’s the hand I was dealt. No Mozart for me (although that is what I eventually moved to Switzerland to sing).

Opera buffa focuses on gods, mythological figures, or kings and queens. It is all kind of “pretty”: little ballet numbers, beautiful costumes (I absolutely love the latest fashion from 1750). Verismo was going to be the story of my life.

Verismo focuses on the average contemporary man and woman and their problems. Check. Generally, that means of a sexual, romantic, or violent nature. In my case, I’d use two out of these three. There was always a terminal illness. Check. Sadly, this included an uber-dramatic tenor running around the room with tales of woe (enter Tim’s real life). The baritone, me, would be a priest,

10 Tale of Two Tims

a general fix-it guy, a soothsayer, or just someone who stirs the pot. I have my own stirrer. The props master need not provide that.

Let’s look closer at how that pertains to my plot.

Yes to god(s). Lots of them. “It’s complicated.”

Yes to queens. Lots of those. “More, please.”

Yes to sex and romance. “It’s complicated, delicious, and disastrous.”

Yes to terminal illnesses. “It’s my life since age thirty-six.”

No to mythological figures, kings, and violence. At least no violence. Operas have very clear villains and heroes. In creating the plot, we must

decide how many acts and how many scenes. The Guinness Book of World Records says it’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

by Richard Wagner, which boasts five hours and fifteen minutes of music. I have a lot more music than that.

For my opera, we are going with a much simpler two-act affair. Each will cover about thirty-five years. There will be a long intermission (with a two-drink minimum). The scene changes dramatically between Acts I and II. The stage crew has to change the scenery completely. When we told the costume designers about the “look” of the first act, they almost walked out. When we told them about Act II, they decided to stay! There will be two completely different casts, except for perhaps five people who appear in both. There will be no crossover until the dream sequence for the finale, when both casts come together and actually get along.

There you have it. The baby boy prepared himself by crying for the first two years, and then the fun began. There has been a great deal of crying and unspeakable amounts of joy as well.

The fat lady will sing. It might be my mother. She was on a diet for her entire life. I am not in charge of casting the roles.

Curtain up on Tim: The Opera

About the author

Tim Seelig Tim Seelig is a conductor, singer, author and motivational speaker. He the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Dr. Seelig holds four degrees, including a Diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has authored seven books and DVDs on choral technique. view profile

Published on June 27, 2020

Published by Nurturing Faith

80000 words

Genre: LGBTQ (Non Fiction)

Reviewed by

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.

or

Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account