With great gratitude, I’m letting folks know that I’m leaving my position as the pianist for Seattle Men’s Chorus, after 36 years (!) with the group. I had a plan. I was going to wrap up at the end of our season this summer, after the GALA Choruses Festival in Minneapolis. But in this COVID-19 world, the season is already over. No more concerts! I was eagerly looking forward to playing a final round of performances, to joyfully experience that time with all the singers, the band, and the crew. I talked with Artistic Director Paul Caldwell and Executive Director Karen Lane about my decision in late February, right before everything changed. But here we are now – I feel like a quarantined teen who isn’t going to have a chance to go to prom, no more concerts!
The chorus has had a profound impact on my life, particularly by meeting my husband Joe 30 years ago. And it gave me a privileged front row seat for experiencing the journey of LGBTQ+ people in the US and beyond, with all of our progress and setbacks. In particular, being part of this organization through the worst of the AIDS experience was fundamentally life changing.
Along the way, I’ve loved the collaboration, the music-making, and the mission. I love the rehearsal process and playing as a collaborative musician. I’ll continue working as a pianist. But now I’m going to use the time in my life differently. Boy, I’d guess there have been well over a thousand rehearsals, 400+ mainstage concerts, hundreds more community performances, tours, fantastic guest artists, and lord knows how many versions of “Silent Night.”
So I give a heartfelt thank you to the singers, to all my pals in the band and crew over the years, to the staff and volunteers, and to so many supporters in the audience. And thank you to Dennis Coleman who had such a tremendous impact on my musicianship, and to Paul for continuing to provide such strong artistic leadership for the group. I have an incredible sense of appreciation for all my SMC (and SWC) colleagues and friends, and gratitude for the experience.
And now—Seattle has such fantastic musicians, let’s look forward to an awesome new player for the chorus!