Saturday, January 2, 2016

"The wonderful thing about the amateur chorus," the conductor Robert Shaw once said, "is that nobody can buy its attendance at rehearsals, or the sweat, eyestrain and fatigue that go along with the glow; and nobody but the most purposive and creative of music minds— from Bach in both directions— can invite and sustain its devotion."

After a brief warm-up we open the piece we're going to perform in April, A German Requiem, by Johannes Brahms. Although I've done this piece twice before, it's in German and I no longer remember what the words mean. Just because this is church music, one shouldn't assume it's about something . . . churchy. One Christmas we sang a piece by the British composer Benjamin Britten that referred to a few missing children. "Timothy, Mark, and John are gone, are gone, are gone, are gone, are gone," one line went. Turns out that one particularly hard winter the boys were butchered Sweeney Todd– style and salted down to eat. "Famine tracks us down the lanes, Hunger holds our horses' reins." We were singing about cannibalism. Cannibalizing children, no less. I looked out at the audience when we came to that part. Are they getting this? The actual text of the piece might be vague, but the title is Nicolas and the Pickled Boys and it's printed right there in the program . The chorus ends with St. Nicolas bringing the boys back to life (" Timothy , Mark, and John, put your fleshly garments on!") who then sing "alleluia." For the performance, we had three choir boys who walked down the center aisle of the church, singing in their pure and innocent voices, without a hint of the grisly deaths they'd just suffered.

Flight From Tampa/I Love Google Maps

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cape Haze Brothers Trip Is Coming Up Next WEEK!

So excited for this trip. It's a quick trip so my two brothers can run a triathlon somewhere in Florida. I will be sipping a margarita while they run, bike and swim. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Message From GALA RE: Festival 2016

GALA Choruses Inc.
24 November, 2015
Greetings!

As I think about Festival 2016, I'm reminded of my most powerful memory from our last Festival. Elisa Boles, a student at Lick-Wilmerding High School, attended Festival 2012 with the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of San Francisco. This is an essay she wrote about the experience. It exemplifies the impact we hope the experience has on everyone who attends. 
Troubled Water
 
I watch from the audience as four teens shuffle out onto the brightly lit stage, the platform suddenly seeming fifty feet longer with only a few people on it. I had been in Denver for a few days already, having come with other Lick students to participate in a four day international festival of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) choruses. We Lick kids were the single non-LGBT-identified group present; I had heard we were even the first in the history of the festival to be allowed to perform. Just yesterday we had sung onstage alongside the Lesbian Gay Chorus of San Francisco in the premier of "Harvey Milk: A Cantata." And now, Ana and I were finally relaxing into a couple seats of the packed Ellie Caulkins Opera House to watch a youth choral group from the United States sing.
 
As the four youth walk onstage, the audience quiets down. The tallest choral member, a girl with chopped blond hair, peers out nervously into the crowd, gingerly takes the microphone out of the stand and opens her mouth.
 
"When you're weary, feeling small..."
 
The amplified notes bounce off the towering walls, the balcony, the seats, echoes jarring in the otherwise silent space. The baby-blue shirts of the singers stand out sharply against the darkness of the audience.
 
"When tears are in your eyes,"
 
Uneasy in the spotlight, the kids trip over the words like rocks in a river. I can't help wondering if they generally try to avoid this much attention.
 
"I will dry them all..."
 
I shift in my seat, attempting to get more comfortable. From somewhere below, I hear a muffled cough.
 
 "I'm on your side when times get rough"
 
A movement in the audience catches my attention. I turn my head slightly and find that two men near the front have stood up and are clapping along.
 
"And friends just can't be found"
 
Without warning their whole row is suddenly up and clapping with them, the row behind following, now the row behind that just beginning to rise as well. A steadily growing clamor arises as seat upon seat flip-flops vertical and dozens of feet drop to the floor like rain. The stage is suddenly out of sight as a wall of bodies erupts in front of me.
Festival Crowd

 "Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down"
 
And before I know it the surge has hit, my chair is flippity flopping, and the stage has come suddenly into view again below, hundreds of silhouettes facing the bright lights and swaying to the beat. Our arms surround each other as we move back and forth, back and forth, the steady pulse of ocean tides. And the four teens are no longer whispering in trepidation but shouting into the mikes, mouths widening into grins that take up the stage. The roaring wave catches up to us and we are singing in one voice that connects the pain and struggle and liberation and fulfillment.
 
"Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down."
 
But we are not a bridge; rather we are the rush of a tsunami; first cracking the sides of the concert hall, then erupting through the concrete walls and tearing through the streets of Denver. The wide boulevard filled with people cheering, waving, the path of the young singers a rippling corridor of hands reaching out for prized high-fives.
Even now, Denver brings up such mixed emotions for me. On one hand, I am proud to live in a nation that would allow such an event to take place. However, after talking to the festival participants and watching the youth perform, I can't begin to imagine what some of them must have gone home to, the kind of bullying and hatred some endure daily. Despite countless reminders of how liberal the Bay Area is compared to other parts of the U.S., I had always believed that in one way or another, our country practiced the tenets of equality and justice, and that Americans were overall striving to be a fair-minded people. It's clear to me now, after watching the discomfort of the youth onstage, that there is still much work to be done to ensure the rights and well-being of the LGBT, even in such a liberal city as San Francisco.
 
Within the LGBT community, there seems to be an overflowing amount of support for the others, to the point at which I'm almost dismayed that I can't belong to it. Instead of categorizing this vibrant group of people as an oddity and treating them as such, we need to follow their example; create a place where all people are safe and everyone is encouraged to shine. And in order to do so, we must accept the fact that we are not always the symbol of fairness and equality we pretend to be.
 
If there's a singular most important thing I learned from Denver, it's that just believing in liberty and justice won't make them reality for the LGBT community, or for any other minority group. It's not enough to accept, smile and walk away. I am reminded of the words of the cantata we sang onstage in Denver, words taken from the speeches of Harvey Milk:
 
   "You must make a commitment. Without it, you are just occupying space." 
 
Attending GALA's Festival has a profound and lasting impact on all of us. We grow musically. We gain new perspectives. And we bask in the glow of support from our choral community.
 
I can only hope that your experience at Festival 2016 matches Elisa's. I invite you to support GALA Choruses and Festival 2016 with a year-end gift. Your donation helps us to support LGBT choruses as we change our world through song. I look forward to seeing you in Denver. Thank you.
Sincerely,
 
Robin Godfrey
Executive Director
 
 
GALA Choruses, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable arts association. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Inscription of Hope by Z. Randall Stoope.

Inscription of Hope by Z. Randall Stoope

Oooooooooo,
Oooooooooo.
Oooooooooo,
Oooooooooo.

I believe in the sun,
Even when it is not shining.
And I believe in love,
Even when there’s no one there.

And I believe in God,
Even when He is silent.
I believe though any trial,
There is always a way.

But sometimes in the suffering,
And hopeless despair.
My heart cries for shelter,
To know someone’s there.

But a voice rises within me,
Saying hold on my child.
I’ll give you strength I’ll give you hope,
Just stay a little while.

I believe in the sun, (Ooooo)
Even when it is not shining. (Ooooo)
And I believe in love, (Ooooo)
Even when there’s no one there. (Ooooo)

But I believe in God,
Even when He is silent.
I believe through any trial,
There is always a way.


Monday, November 9, 2015

We're Gonna Have A Miracle On Thirty FUNK Street



Miracle on Thirty Funk Street Lyrics

Personent Hodie

Personent hodie Voces puerulae
Laudantes Jucunde Qui no bis est natus
Summo Deo datus

Et de vir, vir, vir. Et de vir, vir, vir.
Et de virgineo ventre procreatus

Sing aloud on this day
Children all raise the lay.
Cheerfully we and they
Hasten to adore thee,
sent from highest glory.

For us born, born, born,
For us born, born, born
For us born on this morn,
Of the virgin Mary

All must join him to praise
Men and boys voices raise
On this day of all days
Angel voices ringing
Christmas tidings bringing

Gloria in excelsis
gloria in excelsis
Gloria, gloria. In excelsis
singing


Xmas Done Got Funky

Christmas done got funky. Christmas done got funky
December used to be the month
I just couldn't wait till the twenty fifth
A time of appreciation
The twenty fifth of December just got done got funky
Christmas, Christmas uh huh. done got funky
Christmas Christmas, uh huh, done got funky
Santa Claus where's your red nose reindeer tell me.
They say you got tired of giving Santa
What the world are all the kids gonna do Santa without you?
No excuses. Who's to blame, oh no.
Christmas Christmas so done funky
Christmas funky. Christmas, funky.
Christmas done got funky. Christmas done got funky
Christmas done got funky.
Won't you take me to Funky town!
Won't you take me to Funky town?
Now we'l take you to Funky Town!
Now we'll take you to Funky town?
Christmas done got funky.
Christmas done got funky.
Christmas done got funky.

Joy To The World

Joy to the world. Joy to world Joy to the world the Lord is come.
And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world. Joy to world the Lord is come.
And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world. Joy to world the Lord is come.
And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world. Joy to world Joy to the world the Lord is come.
Let every heart prepare him room! Let every heart prepare his room
Let every heart prepare him room! Let every heart prepare him room!
And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world. Joy to the world. Joy to world the Lord is come.
And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing The Lord is come.
Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

Santafly

See him flying through the sky dropping down from on high
Better not pout, better not cry you'll find out, I'll tell you why.
Santafly, Santafly, Santafly, something in his bag for you.
{SPEAK}
Santafly, Santafly, Santafly,
{SPEAK}
Santafly, Santafly, Santafly,
He sees you when you're sleeping, He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been good or bad so be good for goodness sake
Little Ally better get yo' self together.
Pay it safe, play it cool.
Santafly, Santafly, Santafly, something in his bag for you.
{SPEAK}
Santafly,Santafly,Santafly,Santafly,Santafly,Santafly,Santafly,SANTAFLY!

Angel Chorus

HUH! HUH!
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
HUH! HUH!
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
Cherubim and seraphim throng-ed in the air
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
HUH! HUH!
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
HUH? HUH!
Angels and archangels may have gathered there
Cherubim and seraphim, throng-ed the air.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there.
Cherubim and seraphim throng-ed the air
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo
Gloria in excelsis deo Gloria in excelsis deo HUH!

Aint No Chimneys In The Projects

Aint no chimneys in the projects, Aint no chimneys in the projects
Mamma sat me down and said "Baby Santa Claus does magic things
As soon as you're asleep a chimney will appear and in the morning
you will see all he brings. Don't you worry that there
Aint no chimneys in the projects, Aint no chimneys in the projects.
Grown and see. Ho Ho
Aint no chimneys, Aint no chimneys,
Aint no chimneys in the projects. Aint no chimneys in the projects.
Aint no chimneys in the projects. Aint no chimneys in the projects.
Aint no chimneys in the projects. Aint no chimneys in the projects.

Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto

Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto
Hit up your reindeer uh! Go straight to the ghetto
Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto.
Fill every stocking you find. The kids are gonna love you so. uh!
Leave a toy for Johnny.
Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto.
Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto.
Tell him James Brown sent you. HUH!
Go straight to the ghetto. You know that I know what you will see.
Cause that was once me. Hit it!
You see mothers!
Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto.
Santa Claus Oh Lord, go straight to the ghetto.
Fill every stocking you find. You'll know that they need you so.
I'm beging you Santa Claus. Go straight to the ghetto.
Tell him Hank Ballard told you so.
Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto.
Don't leave nothing for me. I've had my chance you see?
Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto
Santa Claus, the soul brothers need you so.
Santa Claus, tell them James Brown sent you so. HUH!

Uptown Funk

Oh wap Oh wap Oh wap pap pow
Oh wap Oh wap Oh wap pap Hit it!
This hit, that ice cold, Michelle Pfeifer, that white gold.
This one, for them hood girls, them good girls straight masterpeices.
Stylin, while-in living it up in the city.
god Chucks on with Saint Laurent, Gotta kiss myself I'm so pretty.
Hot damn Ah pa-da. Hot damn Ah pa-da
Hot damn Ah pa-da Hot damn Ah pa-da Ah Wow!
HOO! HOO! HOO!
Hoh---> Aah!
Come on! Givin it up, gettin it on, givin it to ya. Give it to me now. Come on, come on.
Give it to me! Givin it up, gettin' it on, givin it to ya. Give it to me now. Come on Come on!
Gotta give it to me! Gotta give it to me
Gotta give it to me hey, hey, hey, hey! Stop. Wait a minute.
Take a sip, sign the check. Harlem, Hollywood, Jackson, Misissippi.
If we show up, we gon' show out. [speak] Hot damm! Ah pa-da
Hot damn Ah pa-da. Hot damn Ah pa-da
Hot damn Ah pa-da Hot damn Ah pa-da Ah Wow!
HOO! HOO! HOO!
Hoh---> Aah!
Come on!
Givin it up, gettin it on, givin it to ya. Give it to me now. Come on, come on.
Gotta give it to me! Gotta give it to me!
Gotta give it to me! Hey, hey, hey, hey
[Speak] Before we leave, I'm a tell ya a little something
Uptown Funk you up, Uptown funk you up.
Uptown funk you up, I said, Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.
[Speak] Come on! Dance! Jump on it. If you sexy, then flaunt it. if you freaky then own it.
Don't brag about it. Come show me. Come on.
Come on! Dance! Jump on it. If you sexy, then flaunt it.
Well it's Saturday night and we in the spot. Don't believe me just watch. Come on.
Givin it up, gettin it on, givin it to ya. Give it to me now. Come on, come on.
Givin it up, gettin it on, givin it to ya. Give it to me now. Come on, come on.
Gotta give it to me! Gotta give it to me! Gotta give it to me!
Hey, hey, hey, hey! Uptown Funk you up, Uptown funk you up.
Pa da ba da ba da ba Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.
Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up. Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.
I said Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up., Uptown funk you up
Pa da ba da ba da ba Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up.
Uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up. I said Pa da da dap pap pa da dap POW!

The Twelve Gays of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas the perfect gift would be, a Stoli and a tonic for me.
On the second day of Christmas the perfect gift would be two busted wigs and a Stoli
On the third day of Christmas the ---- three months rent, two busted wigs and a Stoli
On the fourth day of Christmas the ---four checkered shirts, three months rent two busted wigs
On the fifth day of Christmas the ---- Five golden rings. Four checkered shirts, three months rent
On the seventh day of/Sixth day of Christmas - six inch stilettos, five golden rings
On the seventh day of/Ninth day of Christmas---Feliz Navidad! Nine Macy's gift cards, eight feather boas, seven Sidetrack show tunes, six inch stilettos.
On the seventh day of/twelfth day of Christmas good singing men rejoice
twelve nutty fruitcakes, 'levn matching bow ties, ten queens a'-brunching, nine Macy's gift cards,
eight feather boas, seven Sidetrack show tunes, six in stilettos, Five Golden rings.
Four checkered shirts, three months rent, two busted wigs and a marriage license for me!

Gee Whiz It's Christmas

Hello there, Merry Christmas how you've been.
It's been a long, long time. Can't explain why you crossed my mind
I guess it's just to wish you a merry Christmas.
[speak] Oh, by the way, it's snowing.
It's been a long, long time. Can't explain why you crossed my mind.
I guess it's just to say, Gee whiz, it's Christmas.
It's funny that I haven't thought to call you before.
And why is it I haven't seen you around anymore.
Another year has passed and I can't erase the memory of your smiling face.
So I have to call you up and say Gee whiz, it's Christmas.
So don't forget the party that we're throwing
The warm fire from the fireplace will be glowing.
It's been a long, long time. I still can't figure out why you crossed my mind.
I guess it's just to say---Gee, Whiz! It's Christmas.
I'm wishing you a Merry. Have a merry, merry Christmas.
Gee, Whiz! Have a merry, merry Christmas.

I Feel Good Motet
Fa la la la la la la

Dance of the Sugerplum Fairy

Doo doo doo doo ya da dah ya da dah

My Day

Kwanza
We want to say: Every one has holidays
Ramadan! Talkin' bout December YEAH!

We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are bearing gifts we traverse a far
field and fountain, moor and mountain following yonder star
O - O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light
Oh what can I give, if I were a wise man.
Yet what I can I can will give him I'd give him my haert
O-O start of wonder, star of night, star of royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding guide us to the perfectly.
O-O star of wonder, star of night,, star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding guide us to thy perfect light.
Star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading still proceeding guide us to thy perfect light.
Guide us to thy perfect light. Guide us to they perfect light.

Go Tell It On The Mountain
Go tell it on the mountain! Go tell it on the mountain!
[speak]
It's that time of year again when the snow comes down
and it seems like there is magic in the air.
We gather with our folks, with out gifts and jokes
and good times for ALL of us to share.
Now most of y'all would think that the reason for the season
are the presents and glitter and the gold.
for the trees and men of snow, or the ho-ho hos, but you for about the story of old
[end speaking]
Go tell it on the mountain over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain! Go tell it on the mountain!
Go tell it on the mountain! Go tell it on the mountain!
[speak]
It came up on that midnight clear, with the critter lowing all up in the hay.
Daddy Joseph, Virgin Mary ('cause she never gave it up) wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday.
We still love Mister Claus and the jingle bells and reindeer with his nose all red
but all the shoutin' and the praise is for the birth of J.C., the man who straight up rose from the dead.
Go tell it on the mountain! Go tell it on the mountain.
Go tell it on the mountain! Go tell it on the mountain.
[speak]
Now Christmas ain't no solemn time, so ain't no reason for you to frown.
J.C. is love, turns water to wine, so you know he knows how to get down
So go ahead and hang that mistletoe and take that egg nogg away from your
crazy uncle Joe, kiss your gram, and ya man or ya lady friend
and go ahead and hold your loved ones tight.
Merry Christmas one and all, Merry Christmas one and all and to all a funky good night!
Go tell it on the mountain. Go tell it on the Mountain
Go tell it on the mountain. It's the reason for the season.
Go tell it on the mountain!

This Christmas

Dah bah doot dah dah bah dat dat da bah dah
Dah bah doot dah dah bah dat dat da bah dah
Hang all the mistletoe, I'm gonna get to know you better
oh this Christmas
And as we trim the tree, how much it's gonna be together
Oh this Christmas Woah Woah oh
and we're caroling hrough the night, the night
And this Christmas will be, will be a special Christmas for me. For me
Dah bah doot dah dah bah dat dat dah bah dah
Presents and cards are here, my world is filled with cheer and you ooo oh
This Christmas. And as I look around, your eyes out shine the town and you do
oh, this Christmas woah woah oh. And we're caroling through the night, the night
And this Christmas will be, will be a special Christmas for me, for me.
And this Christmas will be, a very special Christmas for me.
Dah bah doot dah dah bah dat dat da bah dah
Dah bah doot dah dah bah dat dat da bah dah

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Durbin Responds To My Letter On TPP



October 14, 2015

Mr. William Rosen
-------------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176

Dear Mr. Rosen:

         Thank you for contacting me about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.  I appreciate hearing from you.          

          In October 2015, the United States announced it had finalized negotiations with the 11 other TPP countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.          

          Free trade agreements like TPP allow American companies of all sizes to take part in the global economy, which can lead to job creation and economic growth here at home.  While gaining access to foreign markets is important to our economic future, we must keep the best interests of our country in mind when we craft trade agreements with other nations.                  

          To guarantee that American workers are protected from the effects of trade, I have supported the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.  This initiative provides reemployment services for workers who have lost their jobs due to increased imports or a shift in operations overseas, including training, job search, and relocation benefits.                    

          All trade agreements should be fair for American workers and not tilt the playing field toward the off-shoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs.  This and other considerations will be a priority for me when considering TPP.

          The text of the TPP has not been released to the public.  Once TPP is made public and the President declares his intent to sign the agreement, Congress will have 90 days to review and vote on it.                                

          I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers the final TPP agreement.

          Thank you again for contacting me.  Please feel free to keep in touch.



       Sincerely,

      Richard J. Durbin
      United States Senator
RJD/tm


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Monday Stroll Down Memory Lane

On Monday after work I took the train down to the city to attend an open rehearsal of the Civic Orchestra at Symphony Center. I had some time to kill beforehand so I went to the bust of Sir George Solti on the East side of Michigan avenue. Just standing there the memories swirled in me as I sang at the dedication of this bust in 1987 singing with the Glen Ellyn Childrens Chorus. The whole experience just wandering around the city was just fantastic. The rehearsal was run by the current director of the CSO Riaccardo Multi. I couldn't help but marvel at the whole experience and I was entirely glad that I made the time to attend the rehearsal.

















Friday, September 11, 2015

Senator Durbin Respond To My Letter Re: Planned Parenthood

September 11, 2015

Mr. William Rosen
------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176

Dear Mr. Rosen:


Thank you for contacting me about funding for Planned Parenthood.  I appreciate hearing from you. 
Several law makers have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of a video campaign that reportedly portrays the organization's participation in fetal tissue donation programs. 
The effort to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any federal funds would jeopardize women's access to safe, affordable reproductive health care.  Planned Parenthood clinics offer a broad range of essential health services including contraception and related counseling, breast and cervical cancer screening, pregnancy testing and counseling, and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.  
I will work to protect women's access to reproductive health care and family planning services should the Senate consider defunding Planned Parenthood. 
Thanks again for contacting me.  Please feel free to keep in touch.  
Dick Durbin, Senator


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stop The Madness In Kentucky

STOP the discrimination in Kentucky!
It's time for Kim Davis to do her job. We stand with you.  
The Supreme Court just denied a request to continue discriminating against loving, committed same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky pending an appeal of the county clerk's case. This was already after the historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared marriage equality as a fundamental right.
Photo credit: Timothy D. Easley/AP


Marriage equality is now the law of the land. We can't let discrimination continue in Kentucky or ANYWHERE.

I am standing with HRC in support the loving committed same-sex couples who simply want the basic right to a marriage license.
Signed,

William Rosen
--------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176
United States

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Screenshot Of Work Contacts.

This is a screenshot of all the locations of people that I have worked at my job. Nearly the entire United States is represented. I think it's pretty awesome.