We want to share one story that underscores the dedication our members give to MenAlive and to help you understand how your donations bring purpose and joy to our patrons and our members. Bill Eadie, our co-chair Chorus Life Director, quietly and modestly shares his voice and devotion to MenAlive. Bill keeps track of all our members and what is happening in their lives. He always has time for someone else, reaching out with a hug, card, message and a helping hand. Bill's Story....
This is my 12th season with MenAlive. I joined after hearing the chorus perform at a concert sponsored by the San Diego Men's Chorus. I had moved to San Diego following a stay in Washington, DC, where I sang for eight seasons with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. I was searching for a new chorus home, in particular because the every-four-years Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) festival was upcoming, and I wanted to be sure to be there and to be proud of the chorus of which I was a member. (There were two choruses in San Diego at the time, and they were fighting with each other. Fortunately, the choruses have merged and the resulting chorus is now doing much better.)
MenAlive did a bang-up job in its 20-minute set at that performance. The chorus got a lackluster concert going and then took the audience energy and leveraged it to an even higher performance standard. It's a hallmark of this group, and 12 years later we're still doing it (as we did at the Hollywood Bowl in September, one of my most memorable moments as a chorus singer.)
I joined MenAlive and started driving back and forth from San Diego on a weekly basis, sometimes more. It wasn't easy, but I rarely begrudged it (there WAS the time that Caltrans closed I-5 southbound, but we won't go there.)
What's kept me coming back - and, fortunately, I now participate in a carpool of MenAlive members who come from San Diego County - has been not only the level of musical performance that MenAlive achieves but also the culture of friendship and caring that prevades the chorus. Darryl Kozak and I have helped promote this culture by coordinating outreach efforts to chorus members in times of physical or emotional difficulty, but it's the members themselves who have taken this culture into their hearts and do the work without being prompted (Thank You, Facebook!)
We're going to GALA again next summer, and I am just as excited as I was backstage at our first GALA performance - I was literally jumping up and down while waiting to go on stage. We've been given the honor of closing the final regular chorus concert block at the festival, and I want ALL of my chorus brothers to be there. So, when I was asked to lead the chorus's trip to Denver, it didn't take me long to say 'yes'.
This effort will not be an easy one. We need to find ways to support members, who can't afford the trip, while still raising the money the chorus needs to stay financially healthy. We also will have to find clever ways of marketing our performance, as I understand that we will sing at the same time as one of the top choruses, Dallas' Turtle Creek Chorale. It's a big job, and I apprciate everyone's support in getting it done.