Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Right Day

In December 2015, I got my 15-year pin and sang my last holiday concert with Seattle Men’s Chorus.  I also attended my first Vancouver Men’s Chorus Christmas concert.  (I love how in Canada you say “Christmas” rather than “holiday,” and no one freaks out.) 

In January 2016, I auditioned and started rehearsals with VMC, just as it was becoming clear my then-employers at the Washington Attorney General’s Office intended to get rid of me as soon as they could. 

VMC’s main shows are in December and June, but we do occasional gigs in between.  My first performance with VMC was the first weekend of March 2016, in a concert called “This is Your One and Only Life,” a celebration of music by Stephen Smith on the occasion of his 50th birthday.   Stephen is VMC’s longtime pianist as well as an accomplished composer.  The title song for the concert is his setting of a poem by Canadian poet Susan Crowe, which begins “This is your one and only life – what will you do?”

That was also the week the shit hit the fan at work.  The day after we sang, one of the abusive bureaucrats from the Attorney General’s Office came to my office in Bellingham to take away my keys and place me under house arrest.  You can read the whole sad story in prior posts.

I knew disaster was coming.  But as we sang that week, I knew this is indeed my one and only life, and I would not spend it cowering in the closet while I pulled my hair out.

Last weekend VMC sang at the annual VanMan male choral festival.  Our set included the world premiere of a commissioned piece by Seattle composer Eric Banks, “The Right Day.” I have apparently been stalking Eric for years without realizing it – I was at his last student concert at Yale before we both graduated and moved to Seattle, I was at the first concert of his ensemble The Esoterics in 1992, and we both spent time in Seattle Men’s Chorus.  

In his piece, Eric used various statements by the Dalai Lama, all overlapping in terribly moderne tone clusters.  It eventually grew on the VMC boys.  Eventually.  

Eric’s song begins “There are only two days in the year in which nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday and the other tomorrow.  So today is the right day to love….”


This is indeed the right day to love, to be out, and to be home.

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