Monday, July 09, 2012

Top 3 moments at GALA Festival so far


So as some of you might or might not know, I'm in Denver for my first ever GALA Festival. Just in case, it's an event organized by GALA Choruses, every four years.

And I just wanted to share my top 3 moments, so far, of many!! Every hour's been full of significant and wonderful ones, so these aren't necessarily more so. They're just the ones that have stuck out for one reason or another. In no particular order, here they are:

The first was the audience's reception to our performance of Alexander's House. The synopsis of the story is that it's about what happens when a man passes away and his lover and son meet for the first time. Other stories come out of the woodwork as ownership passes from the former to the latter, especially as the deceased left his wife and child when the son was young. There are definitely many more layers to that story, each of which is significant to one person or another who has seen the show.

But I know for me, leaving that theatre and just seeing the look in people's all the work I've done, I've never experienced that raw and true of an emotional connection after a show, the gratitude for that gift of story and music. It was very humbling.

In fact, just talked about it with our Chorus President, one of many individuals who give everything a chorine can, and more (check out who else is on the board). Experiencing the audience's response to last night's show reaffirmed the work we do, both locally with GMCW, and as members of the larger LGBT chorale movement.

Which leads me right into my next favorite moment, the Our Legacy = Our Song concert, last night.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you touched the stream of history, and jumped in at its source, as its being made?

That's what happened when Anna Crusis kicked off the concert. Growing up when I did, there's so much I realize I still don't know about where we've come from, with regard to the LGBT community. Seems to be a theme, what with seeing The Normal Heart at Arena Stage, recently.

These women, these organization...I still can't quite find the words to express just how much that moment and their performance last night has fundamentally changed my life. And it kept happening with every other chorus and piece that was performed.

So I've touched on my present, our past, and it leads me to my third favorite moment, and I'm just going to apologize for the cheese. My third favorite moment was really about the future, and not my future, or that of the LGBT community, but THE future for everyone. And it happened during yesterday afternoon's Youth Choruses block.

GMCW was actually proud to perform with one of the groups this past spring, Dreams of Hope, and they did a fantastic job, again, with their multi-disciplinary work, some of which I recognize in the pic to the left.

All the groups, large and small, were wonderful, but the moment that it really hit me, the phenomenal work these youth are doing in their communities, was when Diverse Harmony took the stage.

Diverse Harmony was the first GSA youth chorus to be started in the U.S., ten years ago.

And, again, I am speechless. Or, in this case, textless. These youth groups are game changers in terms of leading their communities to a more diverse and inclusive future. I really can't say much more at this moment, as I'm starting to tear up yet again in what has already been quite an emotional roller coaster.

But now that GMCW's work is done with yesterday's performance, I'm stoked to get out and continue supporting all my fellow LGBT chorines from the audience, for the rest of the fest!!

- JR

P.S. Here's a YouTube clip of the audience's response to Alexander's House. And for anyone who might not have seen the performance, the recording's available for download at CD baby.

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