Femme-tastic choir

Well, what do you know, I have a blog. I hadn't forgotten about it, but I wouldn't blame you if you thought I had. Just not feeling blog writing lately, I guess. I've never gone in for those "post something every day for a month" things. I don't always have something to say. But if I don't write every day, maybe that means I'm not a writer.

I have been writing though. Songs for V+T, sometimes in collaboration with my drummer T, which is a cool new experience. Poetry (more or less) for a project of which I am a part. I would say emails, but I don't think those count. Twitter?

At any rate, I hope this is the first of a few entries about Femme City Choir and what it means to me. Have I told you about Femme City Choir? I thought for sure I had, but I can't find evidence of having done so.

Last autumn, when it became clear that Lisa's Hotcakes wouldn't be playing as much as I wanted to (and before V+T got started), I joined a choir. A choir of femme-identified people of all genders.

I showed up the first week, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I'm used to hanging around with people younger than myself. But here I was surrounded by women (mostly) in the their mid-20s (mostly). I was very conscious of being the granny. I also didn't know anyone there, although some of us had friends in common. The first hour was taken up by an explanation of the choir and the vision of the two directors as well as by introductions of ourselves. Then we started singing.

And a funny thing happened. I kind of fell in love. Not so much with the music, although I found I could enjoy singing even material that I wouldn't normally listen to, but with the people and the space we all created. I have known plenty of femme lesbians and bisexuals, but I think this was the first time I had ever been in a room in which everyone considered themselves femme--including one guy. It was a beautiful space! It felt very special. I realized that I wanted--nay, needed--this choir in my life.

I went to rehearsals. Slowly, I got to know the others. We gathered material. Sometimes I loved the songs, sometimes not so much, but singing was always fun and challenging. I found it was good for my voice and my range. Over the course of the fall there was some attrition, and those of us who stayed started to feel like a unit. We had a great December social. In January we had another intake. By that time a lot more people had heard about us. The group got large for a while, which felt a bit confusing at first, but slowly I got to know the new people, or at least their names. Again there was some attrition, as expected. About 30 of us stuck it out.

We had a mini-debut in February with a small group made up of those of us who had been there from the start. Eleven of us did extra rehearsals with the music director and sometimes an accompanist so that we could perform two songs at a benefit. The benefit performance went very well. It helped create a buzz in anticipation for our full debut.

That full choir debut happened last Saturday, June 7, at the Wise Hall in East Vancouver. We called it Femmestravaganza. We had four guest artists, and we performed two short sets ourselves. It was a fantastic night! We did a performance that was better than any of the rehearsals, which is what you hope for. The audience response was very gratifying. Femme City Choir has arrived!

Being part of the choir has given me a lot to think about, and now that we're on a summer break, I have time for reflection. I plan to write about those reflections. Meanwhile, here's a video that an audience member shot and posted, and hopefully an official video soon. We're proud of what we have created and especially proud of our fearless (truly) leaders, Kate Monstrr and Lau Sequins.

See you at New West Pride!

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