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A Gay in the Life: Elementary school music teacher Bill Marsland
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2011-11-30

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Bill Marsland has, on numerous occasions, been called "Mr. Schuester," and some have even said Marsland looks quite like Matthew Morrison, who portrays the fictional character from the FOX-TV comedy-drama Glee.

Marsland, though, leads a middle-school choir.

"The TV show Glee definitely helps some of my [ students ] ," Marsland said. "It shows them that, yes, choir can be something fun, something cool to do."

Marsland watches Glee weekly on his DVR—and not just for Schuester. Marsland admits he "loves" the Jane Lynch character, Sue Sylvester. In fact, when Lynch appeared in Chicago Oct. 9, Marsland and boyfriend Zak George wanted to attend her Andersonville appearance, but the duo was running the Chicago Marathon that day.

They finished the 26.2-mile run—the first marathon either had run—in 4:48. Marsland actually finished one second ahead of George, he said with a smile.

Marsland and George were participants in the Team To End AIDS ( T2 ) endurance-training program, which benefits the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) . Marsland raised $1,300 for AFC this summer.

"I had so much fun training for the marathon, and race day itself, much more than I thought I'd have," Marsland said. "The excitement of the crowd, all of the different neighborhoods that we run through, it was a great experience.

"The training from T2 was incredible. On race day, I knew I could do it; there was no doubt in my mind, thanks to the training we had received."

Marsland said he's "already excited" to run with T2 next summer, and is eyeing a faster finishing time in 2012. Plus, he's considering running marathons in other cities, too.

Marsland also is chair of the board of directors for Windy City Performing Arts, in which he is a tenor. He has been part of the LGBT chorus for six years and previously was its assistant conductor.

"I really enjoy singing and my leadership role within the group," he said.

The next Windy City Performing Arts show, titled Sassy! Brassy! Classy!, is Dec. 3-4 at Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave., and will feature holiday favorites. See www.windycitysings.org .

Name

Bill Marsland

Age

31

Relationship status

In a relationship

Neighborhood

Andersonville

Hometown

East Providence, R.I.

Favorite Chicago restaurants

Hema's Kitchen and Tapas Las Ramblas

Favorite Chicago bars

Big Chicks and Hopleaf

Ink

Has multiple tattoos, including a recognizable running shoe design on his left calf, which he got two weeks after completing the 2011 Chicago Marathon.

It's a fact

Is working on a Master's degree in educational technology through Michigan State University, which includes three summers overseas. He spent four weeks in 2010 and 2011 studying in Rouen, France. He will be in Dublin, Ireland next summer.

Photos by Ross Forman


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