Sunday, October 15, 2006

When We No Longer Touch: The Concert

Finally it was Sunday, the day of the concert. We were off until 5pm for call at the Meyerson. M and I took Pat out to breakfast and I took Shadow for a walk. Pat, being 85 is not able to take him for a long walk so he was thrilled to explore his neighborhood for a bit. As it was a lovely day and the neighborhood safe and nice, it was a pleasure.

Michael wanted to visit the grave site of his late partner Rick. I knew Rick and found him charming. He died a year ago July of a heart attack at 37; he had been in ill health. Being a gay couple without any rights (see the heartache you cause right wing bigots, but of course being heartless, you don't care) Rick was buried by his mother; the very same woman who threw him out at 19 when he came out. She was still so ashamed that she buried him, against his wishes, in a small, pitiful cemetery in the next town over from theirs. A mother's love..... We got him flowers, and in the Jewish custom, but rocks on his stone to mark our visit.

Upon arriving at the Meyerson, we still found John Tesch's crap all over the stage, so we had to wait while it was removed. We finally got to go through our pieces on stage. Fingers crossed, we waited for the performance to begin.

We filed out on stage to the applause of the 1500 people in attendance. It was clear this was a special evening. Many had heard the piece 15 years ago; some in the audience were HIV+ and were here as guests of the Chorale and some area AIDS agencies. Many were regular patrons.

We began with the combined anthem "Behold Man" a cryptic creation anthem that is very declamatory and thus an excellent opener. HMC Music Director Joe Nadeau conducted the combined forces. TMC was in the aisles to make it a true surround sound experience.

The HMC set was next. We did some of our recent favorites, 3 with solos which I think diminished the impact we could have as a group, although the solos were fine. It made us more of a back up rather than an ensemble. "Circle of Life" from Lion King, "They Sang to Me", a coming out at the chorus piece, "Mama's Letter to Michael" again a coming out piece and maybe a bit lost with out the context of the song, and "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago from our Kander/Ebb show. Well received and we did ourselves proud.

I caught some of TCC set including the thrilling "Everyone Sang" with words of Sigfried Sassoon, a moving "Dona Nobis Pacem" and a piece by their composer in residence "Creator of the Universe". They ended with the juicy and funny "Insalata Italiana" a parody of everything operatic.

Finally, we got to "When We No Longer Touch" as the last 1/2 of the concert.

Here is the text of the piece so you can see the progression:

The fear that I would
come home one day and find you gone has turned
into the pain of the reality.
What will I do if it happens?
What will I do now that it has?
Latin Text: Requiem Aeternam

I know our time together is no more.
Then why do words come to mind that call you back?
Why do I plan lifetimes that include you?
Why do I torture myself with love
I never felt while you were here?

The layers I have put
around the pain of your going are thin.
I walk softly through life, adding thickness each day.
A thought or a feeling
of you cracks the surface;
a call to you shatters it all.
I spend that night in death
and spin the first layer of life
with the sunrise.
Latin Text: Exaudi orationem meam

I'm past the point of going quietly insane.
I'm getting quite noisy about it.
The neighbors must think I'm mad.
The neighbors, for once, think right.
Latin Text: Dies irae

I know, I know it was time for us to part
but today?
I know I had much pain to go through,
but tonight?
Latin Text: Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?

I am missing you
far better than
I ever loved you.
Latin Text: Lacrimosa

I shall miss loving you.
I shall miss the Comfort of your embrace.
I shall miss the
Loneliness of waiting for the
calls that never came.
I shall miss the Joy of your comings,
and the Pain of your goings
and, after a time,
I shall miss missing, loving, you.
Latin Text: agnus dei

And through all the tears
and the sadness
and the pain
comes the one thought
that can make me
internally smile again:
I have loved.
Latin Text: Requiem Aeternam

The emotion was heavy for all involved. We sang our hearts out, the audience pissed their pants at the Dies irae, the lovely "I Shall Miss Loving You", sweet, sentimental yet never cloying. Our encore was the popular "One Voice: I Will Not be Silent" from "Sing for the Cure". A fitting piece to show that we have not won the battle against AIDS or Breast Cancer.

The solo soprano, Tiffany Roberts, was just incredible, a creamy, smooth soprano with great diction and an ability to foat and to also show her incredible power.

I was exhausted, drained and just fucking pleased and proud. I didn't want to mingle around with the guys and go out, I was too drained. Pat highly enjoyed the experience, Michael looked a little bored. He did annoy me when he bitched about the HMC set was stuff he had heard before and we need to get new material. It hurt a bit, but is typical of him. Men.....

We got home, the return highly uneventful. Top was up due to a cold front and some rain.

I was glad I took the time to go, the time to learn the music and the extra rehearsals. I am a better singer for it, and 1000 times richer for the experience.

Thank you Dr Seelig, Joe, TCC, Pat, Michael, Dallas and even the Okies. It was fabulous!

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