Meet some of SMC's stellar soloists and then come hear them at Love Beyond Borders, March 20 & 21!
Arron Clark, “Under Pressure”
Who is your favorite non-American singer? Dimash Kudaibergen, the treasure of Kazakhstan.
This concert was inspired by people who fled their homelands to come to America and love freely. What do their stories mean to you? My experience growing up in the village of Bigfork, Montana was nothing compared to what is happening all over the world (especially in Russia, and the Middle East) but I got a taste of that hatred as the only openly gay man in my high school, and I am so thankful that we are all still here today to tell our stories.
What has it been like, rehearsing this music? This has been a truly incredible experience. There's nothing better than singing inspiring music with 200 other queens, all while getting tongue-in-cheek shade thrown at us by our director. 12/10 recommend.
Luke Preston, “The Wedding Day”
If you could travel to any destination on earth, across any border, where would you go? This concert has been a nice reality check to remember that having an American passport is a luxury that many don’t ever get, and that I truly can go so many places if I want. I think my next travels will be to somewhere like Iceland.
This concert was inspired by people who fled their homelands to come to America and love freely. What do their stories mean to you? Getting to know the two amazing couples that we are fortunate to have met through chorus has been both interesting and eye opening. From my side it has humbled me to not take for granted a casual chat over a drink at a gay bar with anyone. It's easy to start to feel like it has become boring or not worth it, but they have literally risked their lives to be in that spot at that moment sharing that same experience with you. It's very similar to the knowledge I gained from our Stonewall show, and how hard the amazing generations before me fought just so I could come out.
What has it been like, rehearsing this music? It has been challenging in such a great way. The first act features some amazing composers and arrangers that have given us music to set a new level of achievement for ourselves. It has been fulfilling to work hard to bring their pieces to life! And the second act allows us to be fun (and even silly) and remember that there are so many LGBTQ artists around the globe to celebrate.
Stephanie Dykes, “Speak To Us of Clothes”
Why did you join Seattle Men’s Chorus? As a transwoman, it's important for me to feel safe and accepted. Singing also makes me happier than just about anything. And singing with SMC has made me very happy. SMC is like having 200 brothers.
If you could travel to any destination on earth, across any border, where would you go? I would go straight to my son's heart. I saw him this past August for the first time in 9 years, and that was only the second time I had seen him since 2006. My son has agreed to meet me for dinner when I am back in the Carolinas in March. I hope with all my heart that the wall of estrangement between us is slowly beginning to crumble.
This concert was inspired by people who fled their homelands to come to America and love freely. What do their stories mean to you? I am especially touched by "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor." Since 2016 our country has fallen so far from the words of the Emma Lazarus poem that Irving Berlin set to music. When I sing words like "I welcome you in; I welcome you home" I am hopeful that the United States will one day be a beacon of hope.
Jeff Hu, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”
Why did you join Seattle Men’s Chorus? For over 20 years, my husband and I had season tickets and we have enjoyed going to every single SMC concert. I always wondered what it would be like to sing with this chorus. When I finally joined 6 years ago, I never looked back. I have the best time singing with these very talented people.
This concert was inspired by people who fled their homelands to come to America and love freely. What do their stories mean to you? As an immigrant, I absolutely identify with their stories. I was from a culture where I didn't think finding love was ever possible. This country has given me the freedom to be who I am, and to find the love of my life. My husband, Peter, and I have just celebrated our 21st year together. That would have never been possible where I grew up. I am very blessed and I don't ever take that for granted.
Our guest artist, Bonnie McKee, has written a zillion pop hits. Which is an earworm for you? I didn't know Bonnie McKee wrote Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", "California Gurls", and "TGIF." Those songs are such earwarms for me. Love those songs.
David-Aidan Mackey, “It’s My Party”
Who is your favorite non-American singer? I'd have to say Florence Welch for a solo singer. Her voice is just entrancing. Alphabeat is my go to group from across the pond. Really catchy synth pop with an ABBA meets indie feel and a male and female lead singer duo. Check out "Boyfriend," it will stay with you for weeks!
This concert was inspired by people who fled their homelands to come to America and love freely. What do their stories mean to you? I sometimes say I escaped the deep South as a teenager and fled to a new nation in NYC, but this concert has made me realize and really reflect on my own privilege growing up here. Sometimes, we will be singing a certain lyric and I'll think, "that could be me," but it wasn't. I suffered a few bruises and some harsh bullying; not stoning and removal from my entire family. Heartbreaking.
Our guest artist, Bonnie McKee, has written a zillion pop hits. Which is an earworm for you? I'd have to say "California Gurls," Katy Perry. Even though I'm a transplant to this coast, I'm slowly coming around to west-coast-is-the-best-coast life and that song does it for me.
Mark Miller, “The Call”
Why did you join Seattle Men’s Chorus? I desperately needed a place to engage my creative side. Most of my life had been spent in the pursuit of music, but after college I ended up spending almost a decade in the corporate hellscape of America. At the end of that particular journey, the Seattle Men's Chorus seemed to be the home I had been missing.
If you could travel to any destination on earth, across any border, where would you go? One day, I really hope to travel to Japan and visit some of the onsen, mountains, dojos and temples.
What has it been like, rehearsing this music? Rehearsing much of this music has been an exercise in touching a very deep well of pain without slipping and falling down the well. On many occasions, I had to stop myself from thinking too much about what we were singing, otherwise I would start tearing up. It has also been like building a bonfire. Hopefully, when this concert is set alight, people from all over the world will see and hear this, and will know they aren't alone in this sometimes dark world.