New Members
Jan 11th, 2009 by Mike

One of the most powerful memories I have so far in my time with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is my first rehearsal. At the end of the first rehearsal with new members, the new members are brought to the front of the room where our director usually stands. The new members are facing the rest of the chorus, and the chorus sings Fred Small’s Everything Possible to them. It was such a powerful moment for me, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

At last week’s rehearsal, we had about 20 men attending who would be auditioning for the chorus tonight. They were given an opportunity to see what one of our rehearsals were like. Wednesday night will be the first rehearsal as a new member for anybody who made it through their audition with our director.

Wednesday night will be my first opportunity to sing Everything Possible with the chorus, and I’m excited about that. It’s my turn to welcome men into the group that so graciously welcomed me four months ago.

You can be anybody you want to be,
You can love whomever you will
You can travel any country where your heart leads
And know I will love you still
You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,
You can choose one special one
And the only measure of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.

First Concert Series
Dec 22nd, 2008 by Mike

My first concert series with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is done. It was a lot of fun, and at the same time, I’m glad it’s over. It was a rough weekend because of the weather. We got close to a foot of snow in the Boston area, so that made for a bit of a challenge.

I’m so flattered by the number of people who came to see me in these concerts, including my sister, her fiance, and my niece. I was floored tonight when I turned on my phone during intermission to get a text from my boss saying that he was in the balcony. Not only were he and his wife in the audience, but so were our corporate controller and CFO and their wives.

This was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed most of the music. We had one piece that was a cappella and in Latin. It was my own personal hell. I sing lower baritone, and our director had us singing the bass part on this piece. It was a bit below my range, and that made it really hard. We did a piece called Stargazing, which had three movements. The third movement was a variation on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I think that may have been my absolute favorite.

Our Santa Quodlibet was a lot of fun and my first experience with “choralography.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g03sanlB5YE

One of the highlights for me was singing Come and See the King with Claire Phillipe. That girl is absolutely amazing. She’s going to be famous in a few months, and I’ll be able to say that I sang with her on stage before she was big on Broadway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br9qtPdwb2A

Our next concert series is in March. I can’t wait.

Holly Folly
Dec 7th, 2008 by Mike

This weekend, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus performed at Holly Folly in Provincetown, MA. I’d never been to P-town before, and it’s beautiful. They say it’s a great place in the summer, too. My friend Chris and I are going to spend a week there this summer.

DSCN1269.JPG

If our shows in P-town are any indication of what the concerts will be like in Boston, our audience is in for one hell of a show. I have to say that I’m really thrilled (and a bit humbled) to be part of such an amazing group.

When I joined the chorus, I was assigned a Buddy to help me learn the ropes. Christopher has become a great friend, and this is us before the first concert last night.

DSCN1266.JPG

Don’t I clean up well and look good in my tux?

Another Family Visit
Nov 14th, 2008 by Mike

It’s hard to believe, but I’m getting my third family visit in less than a year.

My sister Darcie, Dave, her fiance, and Sarah are coming up for the BGMC concert on December 14. I’m very excited about this. This time, they won’t be staying at my house. Dave claims to like Reggie, but the fact is that Reggie makes Dave sick. He’s got some heavy duty allergies. 

I’m not sure Sarah knows she’s coming yet. This is going to be exciting, though. My sister is buying her a new dress for the event (hopefully red) and I want to make sure we get some really good pictures of Sarah and I.

What Matters
Nov 11th, 2008 by Mike

I talked to my sister last night. She, Dave (future brother-in-law), and Sarah are coming up for the BGMC concert in December. I was really hoping she could talk the parents into coming, too, but that’s not going to happen this year. My mom is a florist, and this is a peak season for her. I’m not sure how much of it is the business and how much is their discomfort with my singing with a gay group. At this point, I’m not sure I care. My family will be here, and that’s what matters. Having Sarah at my concert is incredibly important to me, and just typing this brings me to tears. My sister says she’s going to buy Sarah a pretty new dress to wear to the concert. We’ll make sure we get photos of her with Uncle Mike in his tux.

My sister did ask if the music would be appropriate for a nine year old. It’s all Christmas/holiday music. There is one piece, called What Matters, which is from the Matthew Shephard story. Everything else is holiday-related, and the whole theme is Stars. One of our pieces has an entire movement based on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and it’s stunning. At this point, my favorite piece has got to be Come and See the King, which goes all gospel choir. We have another piece that’s a capella and entirely in Latin. It’s incredibly difficult and sounds amazing.

So the age appropriateness of the concert isn’t a big deal. My sister will have some other explaining to do, but Sarah’s a pretty smart kid. And I don’t think it’ll phase her too much.

Retreat
Oct 20th, 2008 by Mike

I spent my weekend in Ogunquit, Maine with the rest of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time together, which was a great way to meet people. Our Christmas concert is really going to be amazing. We’re doing a whole range of pieces, and it’s going to be great. In addition to the four concerts in Boston on December 14, 20, 21, and 22, we’re doing two concerts at Holly Folly in Provincetown on December 6. Not only that, but we’re going to be performing at Gay Ski Week in Stowe, VT. So yeah, we have a lot going on. We did a lot of rehearsing and a bit of partying, perhaps too much partying for me.

One of the highlights of the weekend was our director’s birthday. He’s a brilliant man, and at Sunday’s rehearsal, he started to warm us up, and when he pointed at Chad, our accompanist to start us out, Chad did this great arpeggio across the keyboard, and the director just rolled his eyes, knowing what was coming. Having 120 voices sing happy birthday to you is something to behold.

This weekend gave me some perspective on some things. First, I want to start playing the piano more. I need to find a piano and get my skills back up. And I want to learn to play the guitar, acoustic, that is.

The other thing I decided this weekend is that it’s time for me to stop drinking. I’ve been drinking way too much lately, and it kind of scared me. This has been coming for a while. My grandfather was an alcoholic, that scares me even more. It’s not really the frequency that I drink, but rather my inability to stop drinking once I start. So I’m going to dry out for a while. A quick google search shows that drinking while on Rebif (my primary MS medication) is a really bad idea because both are toxic to the liver. Another search shows that alcholism can be a bigger problem in people with MS as well. The health reasons alone should make me stop drinking. It will also eliminate a ton of empty calories and save me a small fortune.

Will I ever drink again? Probably. But first, I need to prove to myself that I have the willpower to do this. My last drink was a glass of really good champagne on my birthday, which was Saturday. It was bought for me by another gay Republican in the chorus.

The best part of this was Sunday morning. I didn’t drink anything Saturday night while we were out on the town. I was up bright and early Sunday morning. Looking around the room at rehearsal, some of those boys looked really rough. I felt great. I’m not going to miss being hung over.

I have an appointment next weekend with my psychiatrist. We’re going to have a few things to talk about. Oh, and the Halloween party I was going to have… I’m thinking that would be a really bad idea right now. I’m going to make an appearance at my friend’s party on Derby street, but that’s about it.

Yesterday, after heading North on I95 to go from Maine to Massachusetts, oops, I went to get Reggie at Beth and Paul’s house. I asked Paul to take a few pictures of Reggie and I. The guy is amazing. You can find the photo set here.

Wait until you see what I have planned for our Christmas card picture. It’s going to be awesome.

Second Rehearsal
Sep 18th, 2008 by Mike

Last night was my second rehearsal with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. First, I had dinner with my “chorus buddy” who is like a mentor to help me get a feel for what I’m getting myself into. We ate at one of my favorite places in the south end, and we discovered that we have mutual friends.

Rehearsal was fun. Long, but fun. The music is getting more challenging, and still I’m enjoying it. After rehearsal, a large part of the group went to Fritz for a few drinks. I could only stay long enough for a beer since I had to get home and be up early for work this morning. I got to hang out with some fun people, and that’s been the best part of all this.

I was talking to someone who is originally from the south, and we got talking about Paula Deen, and he was telling me how he used to eat in her restaurant all the time before she was famous. And he was telling me about his experience meeting Julia Child. How cool is that? At one point, I found myself in a huddle with a bunch of guys talking about another one of my passions, Project Runway.

I won’t be going to Portland for my birthday now. That weekend is the chorus’ annual fall retreat in Ogunquit, ME. I’m really looking forward to that. Christopher, my “chorus buddy” and I already have our accommodations set. I’ll be going up early on Friday to make a stop at the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store since it’s on the way to Ogunquit.

Tickets for our season are already on sale. That’s just a little intimidating.

Audition
Sep 10th, 2008 by Mike

I didn’t win the eBay auction, so I’ll not be going to San Francisco this weekend. That’s okay, though. Reggie and I will be going to the Salem Pug Meetup on Saturday morning.

Today, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a few years but never had the guts to do. Until now. I auditioned for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.  I haven’t sung in public since my sister’s wedding ten years ago. Needless to say, I was terrified. I think I didn’t audition before because I was afraid of sucking.  Apparently, I don’t suck because I’ll be singing with them for the 2008-2009 season.

I have to say that this was an experience unlike any other in my life. Having never sung with a group that large, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve never been surrounded by such amazing harmonies by a large group. Better yet, I was part of that. There is something about the fellowship of music that just lifts the soul. The rehearsal was long, 7-10 pm, and I really enjoyed it. I met some great guys, and I felt pretty good about my voice when we were done.

Only one word can describe tonight’s experience: wow.

Now it’s time for bed. I have a system upgrade at 6:45 tomorrow morning.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa