Do you remember your first time?
Attending a Seattle Men’s Chorus or Seattle Women’s Chorus concert can be a transformative experience, especially the first time. A Chorus concert is so much more than beautiful music and a fabulous performance. Together, the singers and the audience fill the hall with a unique energy of love and acceptance. While we all cherish this welcoming atmosphere, for those experiencing it for the first time, it can be truly life changing.
This is Armando Gonzalez’s story:
By the time I was 15, I felt like I was starting to lose my quiet battle with depression and the thought of suicide had taken root. I felt it was the only way to free myself from constantly feeling like I didn’t belong, the fear of being alone, and the inevitable rejection and eviction from my home if my family were to find out that I was gay. Before I could act on those thoughts, however, I found BGLAD, the LGBT youth group at Youth Eastside Services in Bellevue, where I was able to meet a few teens like myself. Also, luckily for me, on my first visit they had tickets to a Seattle Men’s Chorus holiday concert that they were giving out thanks to SMC’s Youth Ticket Program.
I remember being nervous and yet happily excited to be attending the show. I remember being amazed at the size of the audience, the diversity of the audience and the chorus and how the people present looked just like me and the people in my life. I also remember thinking that the blond guy in the second tenor section was really cute, but more importantly, I remember Dennis telling the youth in the audience that we were loved just the way we were.
That night with SMC was the turning point in my journey…That night was when I realized that being gay wasn’t going to define me but that it is part of who I am and that there was more I could do than I had previously imagined.
To say that Dennis changed my life more than 15 years ago would be an understatement.Dennis and the Choruses saved my life. I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t be here today had I not been to that holiday show years ago and been told “we love you just the way you are.”
Our impact is life-saving
To save just one life is a priceless accomplishment, yet the Choruses impact countless lives every year using the power of music to provide hope and community to those who couldn’t find it anywhere else. As we look at the great strides that have occurred in LGBTQ rights since those first courageous chorus members walked on stage, it is good to remember that, like a ripple in a pond, those dramatic changes came about by changing one heart at a time.