I’m rarely at a loss for words in writing or speaking but this whole amazing weekend has left me feeling a bit inadequate in that department. I mean how do you use something as limited as language to describe a bonafide miracle?
I’ll do my best and use pictures which can tell the story much better.
My Dad and I attended all 3 concerts at Phoenix College in the John Paul Theatre where my dear brother stood tall and proud in the third tier of the risers singing his heart out and remembering ALL the words with the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus. Naughty and Nice, Sugar and Spice holiday concert.
Some of the songs were quite complicated, especially a mashed up version of the 12 Days of Christmas that was like a whole bunch of Christmas Carols all blended up mishmash style from 12 Days to Rudolf to Hark How the Bells, all wildly thrown together. It even ended on Toto’s Africa “I spent Christmas down in Africa”…it was so hilarious and fun! It had to be so hard to learn and was so fun to hear. I love surprises on the familiar like that.
I haven’t indicated this ever in the blog before and asked John’s permission last night to share that my brother is in fact, gay. When I asked him if it was ok he said “sure, I’m out”. I think it’s important to just be open about this at this point for all of us. This is a gay men’s chorus he’s singing in and a huge part of the reason I got so insistent he try out. He’s been living outside his people, struggling, for so long and I felt his finding a sense of community was so important for him. Once I saw these guys perform, it became a dream to hook my dear brother up with them somehow. And we all know how that turned out. 😉 It’s an absolutely perfect fit for him. He keeps sharing with me how “nice everyone is”. He’s been welcomed with open and warm arms and I couldn’t be more relieved and happy.
My Boys Rob and Sean who are now legally married in AZ!
Their mission is to help support and educate issues around LGBT awareness and as the conductor said “hopefully bring entertainment as well”. This is such an important thing to understand about Alfonse’s participation with this group. It’s so critical to know your tribe and those men are people who can understand him in a way no one else can, including me. John’s illness started around the time he was realizing his sexuality and struggling intensely with it. As much support and acceptance he can find, I believe, will help him be as healthy as he can be. The conductor also mentioned something about music having the power to heal which of course made tears spring to my eyes watching my darling brother up there, in a tuxedo, singing away with peers, healthy peers. And fitting in. He truly is a walking, singing, miracle for ALL of us.
The show dedicated a segment of songs to their mission statement that directly addressed issues our gay brothers and sisters face during the holidays–isolation, non-acceptance, depression, things like that. I think that section of the performance was the most meaningful for me.
They did 3 songs which tugged at my heartstrings so hard and I cried every single performance (and forgot Kleenex every single time). The one that really got me was a song from the musical Kinky Boots called “Not My Father’s Son”. Whew, tears just thinking of it. I’ll put a video here. Beautiful, poignant song. And to see all those men sweetly expressing those lyrics, all of whom can relate I think….breathtaking. And the soloists at these shows, some very very real talent in there.
The other song that I keep hearing in my head and remembering and that opened my heart like a Polar Express running through it is called “My Grown up Christmas Wish”. Whew…more tears!
The fellas were in festive holiday clothes for the first Act then in to their tuxedos for the second. So handsome! There were lots of fun and funny performances too like an rendition of the Grinch, a totally hilarious and irreverent take on the Three Kings and a salute to the Muppet Christmas. I loved it all. The stage was bright and festive with garlands and trees and choreographed lighting.
The Chorus also sponsors a smaller chorus for teens called Omaggio and they did some performing as well. It’s so impressive to see these young kids, at that age, claiming themselves in that way. On a stage! Another tear jerker.
Photos were disallowed so I waited until they were taking their bows to snap a few–I had to get my brother taking his bow and share it.
I could go on and on but I’ll let you absorb the photos.
On the social front, Cathy Hughes had Dad and I for dinner Friday then went with us. Saturday I hosted a little soiree at my house and my Boys Rob and Sean came down from Sedona and my darling Mya came along!
I made fresh juice clementine margaritas, shrimp ceviche, a cheese plate and this delicious Sopa Verde chicken soup filled with kale, spinach, cilantro, garlic, lime, english peas, avocado, green onions…green and more green! I adapted a couple recipes I saw online and have to say it turned out delicious. We returned after the Saturday night performance and toasted with champagne and pomegrante seeds (gotta bling it out ya know) in my mother’s crystal. I felt so overwhelmed by her presence during that Sat. night performance and opened myself to feeling her love shining down on her baby boy. She exited the planet when John was just 3. I can’t imagine what that must have been like for her. I felt her love and warmth and pride flowing through my tears.
Mya brought him flowers…awww
The Sunday performance was at 2pm so just my Dad and I went. Then afterward the three of us went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate. John even got the deep fried ice cream. 😉
This is his “in awe” face LOL
It was so wonderful seeing him being basked in the spotlight by everyone. He sat in my living room Saturday night with all of our friends showering him with love and attention. Something he may have never had in his life and he was soaking it up. I was/am so proud of my brother.
I’m telling each and every one of you out there reading right now, if my brother can leap from the dark place he was in just over a year ago to standing on a stage in a tuxedo, part of something, singing his heart out, NOTHING absolutely NOTHING is beyond your/our/my grasp. KNOW THIS! Feel it!
Let’s go for big dreams now, ok? Can you get on board with us?
Just a tiny snippet because I want to share it , speaking of big dreams: I’ve fallen madly in love with someone. It’s mutual, it’s real and it’s someone I feel I’ve waited my whole life for. I’m sure I will write more about this when the time is right but this just fell out of the sky. He read a poem online that I’d written, felt compelled to contact me, did and, well here we are, flying. It’s quite the time in the Monkman world right now.
I will leave you on what Alfonse said was his favorite song of all in the concert–a beautiful and touching song from the movie Polar Express called Believe. He said “I like it because it ends on such a positive note”. Which my friends is exactly where we are sitting right now…right in the middle of a positive note.
Happy Holidays all. Let’s believe even bigger now, ok? If my family, with all of our trauma at the holidays, can be walking this sparkling path right now, you can land on one too. Stay open, please stay as open as you can.
There are signs all around you.