Tuesday, September 20, 2005
5:30 and 6:30 at the YES Office for YPC Orientation. Voice eva to follow (to see what section you will be singing in)
Ages 13 - 21
Everyone is welcomed to come!
Lady walking up Lexington @ 100th Street, last night. Six feet tall, wearing a black bra, a black and white polka dot mini skirt and HUGE black boots?
Can I get a NO?! please?
When we finished the song, we sat down while the Ambassadors sang through “The Awakening”. Only, once they’d finished, Jeffrey asked them to go back and sing one part again.
No alleluia, not one hosanna, no song of love, no lullaby
And no choir sang to change the world.
“That’s just it,” Jeffrey said, stopping them, turning to us. “That’s what you guys did last Wednesday. You changed the world.”
I wasn’t the only one crying.
There was a woman on the subway wearing orange blush and purple eyeshadow. And I wanted to hand her a card that said:
Hello, I'm a representative of the No Program. NO.
Is this dream deferred?
Or is it just a raisin In the sun?
I'm so afraid right about now.
Wanted to post something here that I wrote in my journal on 3/22/05:
I did the same thing tonight that I did two years ago tonight; I came face to face with an amazing group of kids who have the power to change the world.
You see, two years ago today, Richard Eng, Mark Schall and I walked into an afternoon Y.E.S. (Youth Enrichment Services @ the LGBT Center) Saturday afternoon social, and signed up a group of kids who would becoming the charter members of the Youth Pride Chorus. We walked in on a great group conversation about I don't know what, but I remember being immediately struck by how intelligent and self-aware everyone was, how considerate they were of each other, and how close they all seemed. It was like walking home.
I met several young men and women that day, one of whom said he's been at the "Viva La Diva" concert with Bridget Hughes, and another who told who proudly told me he was still sixteen. I was two days short of my twenty-third birthday, and awed by these young, brave people.
We started rehearsals on April Fool's Day. This was back before there were set budget lines and expectations. Some of the GMC members would bring by cookies and soda for us to much on at break. Dutifully, every Tuesday night, I'd dash from the office to make it to the Center on time. On the nights that I had an early sectional, I'd quietly calendar an appointment with "Dr. Maynard" and hope no one noticed.
We didn't know what we were doing. Jeffrey did, of course, as a teacher and director, but I'm not sure any of us had a clue of what we were creating, which was a family. Many of us, myself included, didn't read music. I octaved parts that should have been harmonized, and harmonized where I should have octaved. As that chilly spring grew gradually warmer, we'd head to the Christopher Street pier after rehearsal and sing "Dirait-on" and "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" until it was dark, and then we'd gossip and laugh, happy to be in each other's company. And then, in June, we took the stage of Carnegie Hall.
I knew, I think, before he asked, that Jeffrey would ask me to say something that night, but it was never real until the morning of June 18th. I'd spent days memorizing the speech, in elevators, bathrooms and showers, and I knew the words cold, until that dress rehearsal, when I had no idea what the third sentence could possibly be. Luckily, when it came to the real performance, I got it mercifully right, and the smiles on everyone's faces when I joined my friends to sing is perhaps the most indelible moment of my life.
And then, it was back to reality. As quickly as YPC had rushed into my life, it rushed out, leaving me with some of the best friends I've ever had, friends who I've created RENThead fanatics of, who I've trick-or-treated in the Bronx with, who have been to GMC concerts specifically to see what I was wearing. Friends who have taught me more than I have taught them.
I haven't been back to the Center on a Tuesday night in over a year, but, being as it was a gorgeous night, and D'Monroe himself told me to go find my friends, I wandered down, finding myself outside the YPC room at 7:30, to hear them run the Hairspray medley, "Everything Possible", and finally "What Matters."
Because there were other people waiting for friends, I had to bury myself in a corner, book in front of me, as hot tears spilled down, within seconds. They're THAT good, and the memories of many lively hours spent in that room came flooding back all at once. And the laughter coming from inside was raucous and joyful. And they sang with tenderness that shook me.
"You can be anybody that you want to be. You can love whomever you will. You can travel any country where your heart leads, and know that I will love you still."
These are kids who are smart beyond their years, but many of them won't even realize the full meaning of these lyrics for years. But they sing with passion and vigor and enthusiasm and hear, and it makes them real and brave. Most of them aren't privileged white Jewish girls, like I was, and I cherish that fact more than anything else, because it is they who are wiser than I.
When they finished rehearsal, I went inside and got the biggest hugs from some of my friends, and I complimented them on how well they sound. They were all exhausted, but six of us ventured out into the night for sushi, as the group of we charter members did, two springs ago. And it was coming home again, laughing at new jokes and gossiping the same old stories. And then, it came to me that two years ago yesterday, YPC didn't even exist as more than a plan. And next month, they are singing for the opening of a center for gay teens in Pennsylvania, and doing their own full length show in June. And they're singing songs that mean the world to me, and to them. Two days before I turn twenty-five, it's a pretty impressive and astonishing thing to say I was a part of.
OK kids, just for fun. Comment with your favorite YPC memory.
A phone number might help, yes?
The word “audition” sounds a little scary...think of it more as a chance to introduce you to the chorus and to get to know you and your vocal abilities. Imagine American Idol where all the judges are Paula. NYCGMC auditions consist of following:
Filling out an audition form: basic contact information and information about your singing history (if any).
A prepared solo, limited to two minutes (we’ll provide the accompanist). Best to sing something you know and are used to singing: Pop, Broadway, church music, opera aria… even "Happy Birthday" or "Amazing Grace.” No acapella (unaccompanied) singing please.
Vocalization to determine your range and section.
Tonal memory: a phrase of music will be played for you and you are asked to sing it back.
A lot of support and encouragement from your new friends. Current members will be available to answer any questions you have.
To schedule an audition, please call the chorus office at the number below.
Auditions will be held Tuesday, September 6th and Wednesday, September 7th from 7pm to 10pm.
If you auditon, you will be be called with the results Thursday, September 8th.
New Member Orientation
New Member Orientation takes place Saturday, September 10th (9am – noon)
The First Rehearsal is Monday September 12th (7pm - 10:30pm). Please clear your schedule for these events in anticipation of your joining the chorus.
Persons interested in joining as an associate (non-singing) member, should contact the chorus office to schedule a meeting with our membership council.
Mid-year auditions may take place in January if there are openings in a section.
Regular rehearsals are held weekly on Monday evenings from 7:30pm-10:30 pm at LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th St (between 7th and 8th Avenues). On weeks where holidays or events conflict with Monday rehearsals, rehearsals occur on Wednesdays.
Each section holds rehearsals in addition to the Monday rehearsals. These are called sectionals and occur every other week. Although they are not mandatory, they are highly recommended and valuable, particularly if you do not read music or if you miss any regular rehearsals. Each major subscription series concert has a rehearsal period consisting of approximately 10 rehearsals. Members are allowed 2-3 absence per concert and may make up absences by attending sectionals.
Approximately 2 weeks prior to each concert, a weekend retreat occurs (Saturday & Sunday). Each December, we plan an out-of-town weekend (Friday- Sunday). This year’s holiday concert retreat will be held December 2 -4, 2005. Please reserve these dates in the event that you are accepted into the chorus. Retreat currently costs approximately $200/$250. This covers transportation, room and board. Spring retreats take place in New York City and do not entail additional costs for members.
All chorus members pay dues of $200 per year (or $67per concert) as well as a one time $25 music fee. Members are required to provide their own standard, tuxedo ensemble. The December out-of-town weekend retreat currently costs approximately $200/$250. This covers transportation, room and board. Members may also pay for other items such as sweatshirts, T-shirts, recordings and other merchandise, as well as certain travel expenses for large trips including tours and festivals.
NYCGMC realizes that its members come from different financial circumstance and may experience temporary hardships. Therefore, the Chorus has established a scholarship fund to help members. All dues reduction/retreat aid requests are treated confidentially and all reasonable requests are met within budget guidelines. Members receiving financial assistance are encouraged to repay the chorus through donation of time and services (volunteering on projects and at events).
Each new chorus member will be assigned a “buddy” for your first concert period. Your buddy will be a current member of your section and will sit with you during rehearsals. They will be your primary resource for information. A buddy coordinator will oversee the buddy program. Each section has an elected representative. Your section rep will be your primary contact for official chorus business and will address any concerns you have with our membership council.
Recordings and other resources (as available) are made available to assist in the learning of music.
The New York City Gay Men's Chorus (NYCGMC) creates music that transforms lives through artistic excellence and raises its voice to promote social acceptance and equality. We are an auditioned, 200-voice male chorus based in New York City.
We serve the gay community and the greater community at large by the performance of classical and contemporary male choral music as proudly and openly gay men. Our regular subscription series includes three concerts on the world-renowned stages such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. We also perform at a variety of area functions, benefits, and events.
The NYCGMC enjoys a loyal and dedicated following throughout the streets of the city it calls home, across the country, and abroad as well. The Chorus has sung with some of the world’s brightest stars, commissioned and premiered many major works, made celebrated television appearances, and sold recordings worldwide.
Most importantly, NYCGMC is a family. We take our mission seriously but with a balance of laughter and fun. The Chorus is a great place to meet people while doing something enjoyable and worthwhile. We are full members of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, Inc. (GALA), the world's only association committed to serving the LGBT choral movement. This international association is an additional tie to our community around the world.
Any other questions or concerns? Feel free to contact the chorus office. See the bottom of the page for contact information. Someone will get back with you right away.