Change is tough. Watching those in our lives change can also be tough. Even more complex is holding on to what matters most to us while all this change is going on. It’s rather like two planes flying in parallel formation; each plane moves on its own, but both must work together to keep from crashing into one another or to keep from flying further and further apart. Bass Bob Oesterreich is one man whose experience has demonstrated that he’s kept his planes flying in impressive formations.
Bob’s family includes nieces and nephews, godchildren, three siblings, and parents that have been married almost 55 years. His family has been quite supportive and accepting of Bob throughout his life. While a youngster, Bob sang with the All American Boy’s Choir and was a French-speaking “singing waif” in the New York City Opera’s performance of Carmen. He attended Mater Dei High School and has been an active musician since his early days, learning to play the accordion, piano, and trombone. While singing with his church choir, Bob earned an AA degree in education from Orange Coast College and a special certificate in computer graphics. He now works as an Applications Engineer in Anaheim and says that his favorite role was working as a technical trainer and traveling to over a dozen European countries. The “No Music, No Life” sign Bob displays at work is a reminder that, even when things around him fluctuate, some things- like Bob’s love of music- are important enough to not let slip away.
Bob has demonstrated in other ways how to keep hold of that which matters most throughout the changes in his life. While some people can say they’ve stayed with the same employer for over twenty years, Bob has done so throughout five different jobs and four company mergers. Bob is also one of the most veteran singers with MenAlive, having been part of the changing chorus landscape since January 2003. He says that MenAlive makes him proud to be a gay man, and that performing on stage and sharing music with other choruses during GALA in Montreal was among his favorite moments.
It’s true- we often “move on,” away from people, jobs, or situations that have, for one reason or another, realized their potential and faded, as we move toward the unknown. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. However, we do need to acknowledge people like Bob Oesterreich for finding ways to keep the important constants in his life- his family, his friends, his job, and MenAlive- amidst all the changes. Rather like flying those planes, it’s not as easy as it appears.