Formed through classical music training and classic rock intrigue and being challenged and shaped through an HIV-positive diagnosis in 1996, T (aka ‘Timothy Bartsch’) has shared his incredible spiritually transformational story through multiple iterations of song, drama, and spoken word ever since.
At age 20, T was beginning his cello studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany. Upon learning of his HIV-positive status, and considering the trauma of how he contracted it, he felt his classical music studies were over.
He came back to Vancouver, Canada, not knowing how long he would live, let alone love again, T gravitated to his other musical love ~ classic rock ~ and started writing songs and singing. The first song he wrote was ‘Southern Time,’ which expresses T’s yearning for equity for all in our world.
Since T had only known classical music and its workings up to this point, his classic rock songs turned out to be more in a classical music/classic rock style. As he likes to describe it ~ ‘Psychedelic Jazzy-Classical, Musical-Theateresque, Art-Rock’ ~ AKA ‘21st Century Social Classical.’ T’s biggest influences are Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Radiohead, Nina Simone, Frank Zappa, Franz Liszt, and Frédéric Chopin among many others.
In his late 20s, T realized he could tell his story would best in ‘rock opera’ form after joining bands. T produced a multimedia stage production of ‘Southern Time’ for a 7-day run in December 2005 in Vancouver, which proved the rock opera’s market viability.
‘Southern Time,’ now named ‘Dreamer,’ tells the story of how T acquired HIV, what living with it has been like for him, and the social and spiritual metamorphoses he experienced during his 25 years post-diagnosis.
However, though T had taken HIV medications for the first two years after first seeing his HIV specialist, he stopped taking them for the next ten years and did not visit any physician, because of his belief that HIV does not cause AIDS at that time.
By the end of 2008, T started to get seriously ill. In 2009, he nearly died from AIDS-related illnesses in Toronto General Hospital, at which point his mother came and brought him back to Vancouver. He spent the next six months in the hospital on the brink of death. However, after receiving life-saving treatment, T made a miraculous recovery, despite sustaining (potentially) permanent lower spinal cord damage. T has performed one-person versions of ‘Southern Time’ in Toronto, Vancouver, Perth (Australia), AIDS 2010, AIDS 2016, and AIDS 2018.
In 2018, T began finding the professional musicians in Toronto who would make up the Southern Time Band core members. In 2019 he found the other openly-HIV positive singer for the band, Justin Anantawan. As the STB recorded their first album ‘Lost in Love No More’ in the spring of 2020 T, found the last core member of the band, singer Shessi Sandu. The album debuted to the world at the first virtual World AIDS Conference, AIDS 2020, on July 6th, 2020. The Southern Time Band’s mission, other than to make amazing music for the Dreamer series, is to accelerate public awareness and action to ending AIDS.
Southern Time Productions is now ready to begin preproduction on the first season of the ‘Dreamer’ series, to ideally launch in the autumn of 2022 on Southern Time’s own socially conscious streaming platform.