Posted by admin at December 31st, 2009

The last few hours of the 2009 are ticking by and some great new things will emerge in 2010. 

At the stroke of midnight tonight we officially say goodbye to the San Diego Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego.  The two organizations will form the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus shortly after the ball drops. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t take time to reflect on what this organization has meant to me.  Back in the late 80′s and early 90′s when gay men were dying from AIDS and ACT UP was demanding rights to health care and respect, I came zipping out of the closet.  I tried looking for my identity in bars and clubs but it just didn’t work for me.  Instead, an ad in “The Update” directed me to call a number for an audition with the San Diego Men’s Chorus.  I even remember their tag line….”We need tops, we need bottoms”.    I have been in love ever since.

Since that January in 1990, the SDMC has been my musical family.  They have seen me through self-discovery, the joy of performance, the loss and grief of friends, community involvement, and just plain making good music with a bunch of committed musicians.  Heck, they even sang at our wedding reception.    Here’s a bit of fun as well.  Gary Holt (conductor of the current SDMC and GMCSD) audtioned me and conducted me in my first concert with the SDMC.  Gary Holt conducted me in my last concert with the SDMC.  Sheer karmic poetry.

So, here’s to you SDMC.  Thank you for twenty years of activism, friendship and great music.  San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus?  You’ve got some big shoes to fill!

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Posted by admin at December 23rd, 2009

LD is asleep and the Blur is sprawled out in his usual asymmetrical form nearby.  I look at all this that has been afforded me and yes, for this beautiful man and splendid creature I am thankful. 

I look around me, listen to the news, hear stories from friends, family, colleagues and students and find that I am quite lucky to be where I am right now.  LD and I make a good effort to keep the finances under control.  We both have good jobs that afford us a sizeable amount of personal satisfaction and our little family continues to trundle along nicely. 

This isn’t the case for many of my students, friends and colleagues.  They are struggling with lost homes, lost jobs, difficult financial situations and poor health.   I try to lend a hand where I can but the situations people are in are so desperate right now.  I have parents telling me horror stories of losing their homes and having to live in a rented house with 2 other families.    I have students coming to school ill prepared for the cold and the rain because parents can’t afford to buy a good coat.  I have students who come to school hungry, their parents too proud to apply for reduced lunch.  I have friends who are struggling with finding jobs and are losing hope because they have always worked and this time around it’s tough getting steady employment. 

And yet through all this, LD and The Blur afford me that solace and that safe haven I need to ease my mind  from the rigors of bearing the weight of the world on my shoulders.  Diego can look at me and wag his tail and all those cares and worries go away.  LD can still make me laugh with hysterical quips and quotes.  On our family walks around the neighborhood, I take great pride and am in awe when they make me smile. 

Tomorrow we head down to CV for the annual Arnarnsley (Arnayro-Karns-Hartley) Christmas Eve Food Fest and Secret Santa Gift Exchange.  Then on Friday we head up to LD’s family celebration.  I am especially looking forward to all the busy-ness just because I couldn’t think of any other place to be other than with these folks.  This is where I’m supposed to be and I relish and treasure the time we will spend together.

In some way, it helps ease the burden of the day albeit for a fleeting moment.  These days, I’ll take “fleeting” in a heartbeat.  And so….for all you kids from 1 to 92…and yes its been said many times and in many ways…Froehliche Weinachten, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Maligayang Pasko and Merry Christmas to you.

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Posted by admin at December 6th, 2009

LD and I had the good fortune to get a pair of comp tickets to Cygnet Theater’s holiday show, “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  The premise was very clever.  Instead of the movie, it was a recreation of a 1940′s radio show broadcast of the movie script complete with period costumes, old fashioned microphones, hair styles and the gals even had the stockings with the seam up the back back of the leg.  It was a great production and well done.  I enjoyed the intimate space the theater offers.

At the end of the show, the cast had us all stand up and sing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.  When it got to the line “Through the years we all will be together if the fates allow…”, I just lost it.  The waterworks started and Chuck was in quandry over my blubbering. 

It was a rough year for me this year.  In the summer, my teaching colleague lost her son in Afghanistan.    Another teaching friend and colleague lost her son in September.   In October, I lost my friend and colleague Rick L., and then one week later, one of  my kids’ parents lost her battle to cancer. 

In  “Meet Me In St. Louis”, the MGM classic movie from which the song originates, Judy Garland’s character, Esther,  sings “Have yourself…” to her little sister Tootie, played by  Margaret O’Brien.   Judy sang, “Someday soon, we all will be together,   if the fates allow.  Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.  So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”  “Hang a shinning star upon the highest bough” was a newer line replaced in the lyrics years after the movie release  just to make it a little less sad. 

This leads me to figuring out why I was such a mess in the theater.   

We aren’t guaranteed that our friends and family will always be together and during the holidays that reality hits very hard.  Sometimes after a terrible loss, the holidays feel like we’re muddling through them just to get by.  I thought about those faces I know so well and just teared up because I miss them.  In my own way, I’m muddling through,  feeling a little lost and very sad for all of us that are still here longing to see those we’ve come to love and cherish. 

LD is very patient however and of course, I do have him and the Blur.  My Arnayro/Karns family and the newer Hartley family will all gather for our yearly celebration in some way, shape or form.   I am looking forward to that. 

And we all will be together because the fates allow.   And for this group of people that I’ve come to know and love, I hang a shinning star on our family’s highest Christmas tree bough. 

Judy was, and is,  right.    Thank you Miss Garland.

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