And I am not even talking about my sexual proclivities – for once.
Some will remember that last June, on his birthday, I took Andrew to see the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) perform Broadway Show Tunes (for those that do not remember read that gay post).
Well, shortly after that concert I started researching every choir and chorus in town. They all have rehearsals on nights I cannot attend and concerts during times I am out of town. But, my energy was renewed for singing lessons and I went to see my opera teacher, Dru Rutledge. I met Dru because when I was looking for an opera teacher on Facebook (which is where I do all my people shopping) a friend from law school started raving about Dru, and I was certain it had little to do with the fact that Dru was her sister.
I take lessons with Dru on and off because both of our schedules are pretty packed and because I am 38 and have a grasp on reality about my future in an opera career. Nonetheless, I really enjoy playing with my voice and learning aria (note no “s” at the end of that word – it really is intermittent lessons… one day, perhaps).
The next lesson with Dru, after that concert, I raved about the PGMC and how I totally wanted to be in a choir now, but that all the choirs in town were not a fit.
Dru: Well, you could join PGMC
Me: Ha! I don’t know if you noticed, but I am not a gay man.
Dru: Well, they don’t discriminate as long as you have the vocal range.
Me: Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod, ok ok ok ok I need to get on the onlines and see what I have to do.
Dru: I know Bob [Mensel – the director], I used to sing with them when I first got to town.
Me: Ummm. Let me find out what I need to do, I will get back to you.
So I went home and found out that they were not auditioning anytime soon, but put my name on their website and completely forgot I’d done that until three weeks ago when I got an email telling me it was time to audition for PGMC.
I called up Dru and asked her to help me prepare. Then I went around telling absolutely no one. And, well, that’s just weird. I mean, I am an extrovert. As such I often tell people my plans as I am formulating them in my head; and then change them immediately and say that out loud, too. But, with this…
I. Was. Nervous.
I mean, I have never sung in a choir and that is different from singing solo. Also, I don’t really sing sing, I just kind of sing. And, I really didn’t want to not make it and be all sad. Also, I wanted to totally get in and surprise people. But, mostly, I wanted to surprise Andrew.
Eventually, though, I told my hair dresser. Then I told my good friend Stephanie (you know who you are). Then I told Jake (one of my improv coaches) – but, only because he needed to know why I wasn’t showing up for rehearsals.
But that was it.
And for an extrovert – why, that’s like keeping something as tight as Fort Knox.
So, last Monday I had to attend the first PGMC rehearsal so that they could find out if I liked them and if they liked me – on a personal level – before auditions. In the weirdest twist of events, Andrew asked me that morning what I was going to do that evening. He never asks me things like that. For example, the exact next day I went to opera lessons and he didn’t even know about it. I mean, if it was ANYTHING but the one moment I was keeping a secret from him, he would NOT ask me. Well, I couldn’t lie to him. Which is kind of dumb, because I had two solid lies I could have told, but instead I said, “None of your damn business.” But, in a flirty way, so his feelings weren’t hurt.
I passed the personality test at PGMC – thank god – and was scheduled for an audition time on Saturday. I also had a massage scheduled for Saturday.
Friday night as we are getting ready for bed, I swear to you this conversation happened – the italics are my thoughts.
Andrew: What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: (for the love of Christ, why are you asking) Why are you asking?
Andrew: Just curious, I am trying to be a good boyfriend.
Me: (well stop) Well stop that.
Andrew: Ha ha ha. You are getting a massage, right.
Me: (Yes!) Yes, I am.
Andrew: What time is that?
Me: (Are you fucking kidding me, just stop asking me to lie to you) What’s with the Spanish Inquisition?
Andrew: (chuckling) What? I just thought I would show some interest.
Me: Well, don’t. It’s weird.
My boyfriend, the introvert, took all of that at face value and did not even blink an eye when I got up at 8 AM the next morning, put on a pretty dress and some makeup and clopped out of the house in a pair of 3 inch wedges – to get a massage.
At my audition I was holding it together pretty well all the way until I heard a four part harmony sing My Country ’tis of Thee. That was the song I had to learn the Tenor 1 part for, and had done. But every time I tried practicing it with the music from the other parts – I drifted, I couldn’t hold my part steady. This is not exactly a good way to get into a choir.
But, I was called into my audition and had to stifle my nerves. I did admirably. By which I mean I did not throw up on Bob, nor did I curl up into a ball in the corner and cry. Bob took me through my range and then had me sing America the Beautiful. Then he played some notes on the piano as I followed him, then he had me sustain a note while he played away from the note to see if I could sustain. And then, the most amazing thing happened. Bob told me I have a gorgeous voice.
He also said some stuff about singing tenor might change and potentially ruin my voice, and that he was worried about bringing me into the choir because,
“You have a gorgeous voice.”
blah blah blah vocal nodes, blah, careful something voice ruined something.** All, I’d heard was that I had a gorgeous voice!
Then I sang my part in the four-part harmony of My Country ’tis of Thee and only messed up one note.
Then I chatted a bit with an attorney/singer/coordinator who was telling me I would find out by the end of the day if I got in and that there would be dues and tuxedo shopping (I am so looking forward to tuxedo shopping). And, I may have forgotten to mention that during the audition Bob had told me I had a gorgeous voice.
Then I got to my massage a half hour early and thought my masseuse was late. She wasn’t. I was addled. I think I was more nervous after the audition than before.
Then I went home and Andrew asked me how my massage was and I said it was good. I was a little exhausted from not being able to tell him how my audition went and how I had been told I had a gorgeous voice. We napped.
About 10 minutes after I woke up I got a call from my section rep and found out that I was officially a gay man.
I have never been prouder.
I now have gayer pride.
** I am aware there are issues with singing too low in ones voice, however, the 1st tenor part is well within my range and I am going to be mindful of any strain or stress. When I sing first tenor, my larynx is completely relaxed. Also, did you read the part where Bob, the director of PGMC, said my voice was gorgeous?