Friday, May 13, 2016

Do you have your tickets yet for "My Kind of Town"?


Do you have your tickets yet?

CGMC’s spring production, "My Kind of Town", opens in 7 Days on May 20th at the Harris Theater, with additional shows at theNorth Shore Center on May 21st and Beverly Arts Center on May 22nd.

This Toddlin' Town experience highlights a variety of musical genres - from the Chicago Blues to House; with music from Bessie Smith, Goldrich and Heisler, Louis Armstrong, along with pop classics from Janet Jackson, Tori Amos and many more. With 100+ singers, a live band, and several dance numbers, the show is guaranteed to get your heart racing for the windy city!

Don’t miss out from seeing this tuneful tribute to our great city of Chicago, tickets available now.

Monday, April 18, 2016

More Responses From My Favorite Senator Dick Durbin!

April 18, 2016

Mr. William Rosen
-------------------------
-------------------------

Dear Mr. Rosen:

          Thank you for contacting me about the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012).  I appreciate hearing from you.
          The bill, introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, would make significant changes to our national energy policy.  It contains several reforms increasing energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, manufacturing, and vehicles.  The bill would authorize energy efficiency grant programs for buildings, create energy efficiency standards for appliances, and encourage research into energy efficiency improvements for manufacturing and vehicles.  The bill would improve energy infrastructure by directing the Secretary of Energy to strengthen cybersecurity and energy grid security and authorize grants for fortifying the energy grid.  It also would direct the Secretary of Energy to review and optimize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and require a final decision on applications for permit to export liquid natural gas within 45 days of the completion of the review process.  
          The bill would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF).  The LWCF provides funds for the conservation of important lands for recreation and protection of important national treasures.  The HPF provides funds for historic preservation in the United States.  The bill also would create the National Park Service Maintenance and Revitalization Conservation Fund to fund important maintenance needs in National Parks.
          Many people are concerned that this bill does not include wind and solar energy.  These and other renewable sources play an important role in reducing our nation's dependence on foreign oil, creating good jobs here in the United States and helping us protect our environment. 
          I will continue to support federal energy policies that focus on increasing energy efficiency and expanding the development of renewable energy.  Investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation will strengthen our national security, protect our environment, and create a wide range of new jobs here in the United States.
          The bill has been passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I will keep your concerns in mind as the Senate considers the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
          Thank you again for contacting me.  Please feel free to keep in touch.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Review Of Rachmoninov's Vespers From The Tribune:

The weekend brought more Russian music, this from the Chicago Chorale, which lent its massed voices to the Eastern Orthodox Lenten celebration with a fervent performance of Sergei Rachmaninov's monumental "Vespers" — or, as it is properly called, "All-Night Vigil" — under director Bruce Tammen.
The composer's settings of 15 texts — nine based on existing chants, the other six consisting of original material he called "conscious counterfeits" — represent the crowning achievement of Russian Orthodox choral music. These a cappella hymns, psalms and prayers brought out some of his most inspired musical invention. They reveal an altogether different Rachmaninov from the composer we know from his piano concertos and symphonies.
Yet the challenges posed by the "Vespers" are great for Western choirs, standing as they do outside the music's ancient Russian sacred tradition, not to mention having to cope with the score's huge technical, musical, linguistic and expressive demands.
I cannot vouch for the absolute accuracy of Old Church Slavonic diction Tammen secured from his 64 amateur choristers but came away moved by the beauty and high professionalism of their performance Saturday at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Chicago's North Center neighborhood.
The resonant acoustics nourished a choral sound that was pinpoint of blend and intonation, yet was ever alert to rapid shifts of tempo, dynamics and register. Sonorities coalesced into a dark cloud one moment, opening into a luminous haze the next. The chorale's wholehearted engagement with the texts was never in question.
If Tammen's basses could not quite match the deep, tolling magnificence their Russian counterparts would bring to their low B flats, the bell-like pealing of the altos and tenors around the nicely reedy solo tenor of Bill McDougall made a most pleasing effect in the prayerful "Lord, Now Lettest Thou." The chorus' able finessing of the interlaced vocal parts and quick reiterations of text in "The Great Doxology" was another highlight. The Chicago Chorale will conclude its 15th anniversary season with a concert June 11 at Hyde Park Union Church.
John von Rhein is a Tribune critic.
Twitter @jvonrhein

Saturday, March 12, 2016

We Burned The Place Down In 2000


I had just finished my fourth year singing with CGMC. I was so excited to attend the festival, I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was my first GALA, and I was determined to enjoy the hell out of it.
From the second I got on the plane it was apparent that it was going to be an experience that I wouldn’t forget for my entire life. There were already a ton of guys from our chorus on the same flight. The flight stopped in Kansas City and there were at least 30 gay men that boarded the flight. It was a GALA party flight from then on!
What really sticks in my mind is the performance. I was nervous, as I didn’t know what to expect. When we filed on the stage, the anticipatory energy was palpable. I was immediately overwhelmed at seeing the entire hall completely filled for our concert. It was filled with gay men and women, all singers in choruses just like ours from around the country. That sight brought me nearly over the edge. I say nearly, because my attention was snapped quickly back to the task at hand when Patrick raised his hands for the downbeat of our first song.
What I remember most about our set is two things. Our performance of “In Whatever Time We Have” and the finale of our set. I can still remember hearing the sniffles from the audience crying as we sang in unison the last decrescendo phrase — “at least we’ll be together in whatever time we have.”‘ We were all balling with the audience.
Then came the finale. It was a “Les Miserables” mashup with uniquely relevant lyrics that only Patrick could write. It culminated with the triumphant “Do You Hear The People Sing?/One Day More” medley with the familiar choreographed steps and the rainbow flag raised high, flying side to side in the background. The audience went nuts! Applause like I’ve never heard in my entire life. It was overwhelming. It’s still overwhelming writing this nearly 16 years later.
It’s memories like these that last a lifetime and I can’t encourage you strongly enough to do everything you can to attend the Festival in Denver. I promise you’ll make memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
 . Here is the track of us singing "In Whatever Time We Have"

Monday, March 7, 2016

Senate #FAIL



March 7, 2016

Mr. William Rosen
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Lombard, IL 60148-1176

Dear Mr. Rosen:

          Thank you for contacting me about political spending by fossil fuel companies and Senate Amendment #3125 to the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012).  I appreciate hearing from you.
          This amendment, offered by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, would require companies that generate more than $1 million in revenue from fossil fuel related activities to disclose spending, over $10,000, intended to influence the political process. 
          I voted in favor of this amendment, which would help bring more transparency to our political process.  The amendment ultimately failed in the Senate.
          Thank you again for contacting me.  Please feel free to keep in touch.


      Sincerely,

      Richard J. Durbin
      United States Senator

RJD/mc

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Small Photographic History Of My Activism


Protesting Against The War In Iraq in D.C. 2007

Protesting Against The War In Iraq in D.C. 2007

Protesting Tax Discrimination Against Gay Couples in Kansas City, MO 2006

Protesting Tax Discrimination Against Gay Couples in Kansas City, MO 2006


Protesting Tax Discrimination Against Gay Couples in Kansas City, MO 2006

May 17,2004 in Topeka, KS for the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education.
Both President Bush and Presidential Candidate John Kerry spoke. I asked Kerry about
Same sex marriage and he gave me this look and said marriage is  between a man and a woman.

Counter protesting against the Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family.

Lobbying the Missouri state Legislature for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Protesting Against the Proposition 8 decision in California banning gayou marriage in 2004

I participated in the Juneteenth festival in Kansas City. Here I'm with Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver

Juneteenth festival in Kansas City. Not sure what year.


Letter from the Queen of England in response to my letter asking her to ask
George W. Bush to resign after he started the illegal war in Iraq.

Rep. John Conyers civil rights pioneer and living legend, spoke at the Iraq War Protest.
He also was tremendously wonderful when we met him. He wrote a note
To my friend Robert who was suffering a M.S. relapse during this trip to D.C.

Note with autographs from Rep. John Conyers, Rep Gerald Nadler, Rep Maxine Waters and Eleanor Smeal

Our view from the back of the stage at the protest against the Iraq War.
Me volunteering for the John Kerry for President campaign in 2004.