Bill Casey, Husband of Boston Gay Men's Chorus Director, Dies

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday December 13, 2021

Bill Casey, the husband of Boston Gay Men's Chorus Director Reuben Reynolds III, died on Dec. 10 at the age of 58. Casey was deeply involved in the BGMC's concert productions. He held the position of Executive Producer and Vocal Coach with the organization.

News of Casey's death was announced by the BGMC at the organization's Facebook page on Dec. 10. The post noted that Casey died "after experiencing symptoms related to a recent surgery."

"Bill's work with the Chorus is reflected in every show we've done in myriad ways," the post added. "He conceived, produced, and music-directed the annual cabaret and provided vocal training to generations of Chorus members as well as students at Boston Conservatory."

The BGMC post noted that Casey "had spent most of the past two years developing Disney PRIDE in Concert. That show, which will be performed at Symphony Hall in June of 2022, will be dedicated to Bill and we will spend the next six months ensuring that his vision is realized."

BGMC Executive director Craig Coogan told EDGE, "Bill embodied who we are as an organization — the music, the message and the members. I will miss his energy and passion for everything we do and the infectious joy he radiated. I was fortunate to not just work with Bill, but to know him and call him friend."

Casey was also a professor in the theater department of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, a position he held for 22 years. Fellow Boston Conservatory instructor and BGMC choreographer Michelle Chassé told EDGE, "No one was more excited to dream up fun ideas (or support crazy ideas) for the BGMC shows. His dedication to Reuben and the Chorus was unwavering. He would be up until the early hours dreaming of scenes or making props. His enthusiasm was contagious."

Chassé recalled the last time she saw Casey, at the end of November: "A couple of the dancers with Bill and I were doing prep work for the Disney concert. We were flying kites in the Arlington Street Church sanctuary. He was absolutely giddy.... it somehow seems fitting. 'Let's Go Fly A Kite'."

Casey and Reynolds relocated to Boston in 1997, when Reynolds became the music director of the BGMC.

Chorus members and conservatory students posted affectionate tributes on Facebook, recalling Casey's warmth, mentorship, and humor.

"He was a flamboyant proud gay man and I was a 21 year old Mormon girl from Mesa, AZ," recalled former student Holly King. "Bill lived doing what he was passionate about," King went on to add. "He was true to himself and one of the happiest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing."

Other former students recalled Casey as "a light and inspiration" and "a champion of hundreds of young artists."

Former BGMC member Tom Choinski recalled Casey as "a collaborator on some of the wildest rides of my life. With him we wrote a comic opera [and] created endless corny comedy bits" and sketches that were performed as part of the BGMC's concerts.

Full disclosure: This correspondent is a longtime member of the BGMC (currently inactive), and knew Casey.

"A public memorial to be held in January at Arlington Street Church is being planned," the Chorus posted on Facebook. "We will share more as details become available."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.